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GARY | Thea Bowman Leadership Academy senior Keyera Lige said she feels good knowing the money she and her classmates raised mean other students will be able to unwrap a gift on Christmas morning. 

Lige is one of nearly 100 students in Robert Kania's physics class at Bowman who participated in an Angel Tree project this year. Kania said his students adopted 20 other Bowman students whose names were on the Angel Tree tags. He said this is the first year students participated in the project.

"Initially, we had gift tags for six students and we thought we'd raise $600 and get the children a nice surprise for Christmas, spending $100 per child," he said. "After a week of collecting money, my students had raised more than $1,200."

With the help of a $500 donation from the school's PTA and continued collections, the students raised $2,100. The students went shopping Thursday at Walmart in Portage to buy gifts.

Lige, 17, said students got donations from classmates, churches, parents and their parents' co-workers.

"People gave what they had," she said.

Jerica Holloway, 18, said it's a beautiful thing to be able to do something to make others happy.

"You never know what the future will bring. I'd love to do it again. My church members and my family and friends contributed. Many of the things that students asked for were clothes and necessities. I had just a few requests for toys," Holloway said.

When he first heard of the idea, Kenneth James, 18, said he was not sure how it would turn out.

"It was great. It went well, and it was good to do something like this for other people," he said.

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Southlake County Reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.