In the Community: Santa, Davis Headline Special Guests at Emerge Christmas Party

December 14, 2012

Santa Claus. Anthony Davis. New Orleans Hornets assistants coaches Randy Ayers and Brian Gates. Honeybees. Hugo. Who would you prefer to spend Christmas with?

Fortunately, for more than 500 New Orleans middle school students, they had the luxury of celebrating the holidays with all of those options.

The Hornets teamed up with the Salvation Army and Richard’s Disposal to reward middle school students who have maintained perfect attendance throughout the school year. Students were invited to the Emerge Christmas Party at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Thursday, Dec. 13, and received a gift valued at $100, based on a wish list they filled out earlier this year. Also, students were allowed to bring up to three siblings who could each choose a gift from Santa’s workshop.

Davis attended the event and spent time interacting with the kids and congratulating them on their perfect attendance. Davis understands the dedication it takes to accomplish a difficult task and knows that these youngsters have worked hard to achieve this goal.

“I always enjoy any opportunity to get out and interact with the fans and the community. Perfect attendance is tough,” said Davis. “What these kids have accomplished is incredible and they should be rewarded. Success in school is important, and it teaches you how to be successful in life.”

In addition to Davis, many other special guests attended the event. Ayers and Gates were on hand encouraging kids to keep working hard and pursuing their goals. Santa Claus was in attendance taking pictures with the kids and hearing all of their Christmas wishes. Even the Honeybees and Hugo could be seen dancing with and entertaining the kids throughout the night.

The event was not only a rewarding experience for the students, but also a reminder that hard work and persistence brings positive results. Hornets Community Affairs Manager Julie Borsch believes the Emerge Program is an excellent way to keep kids motivated in school.

“The Hornets are proud to partner with the Salvation Army and Richard’s Disposal on the Emerge Program for the fourth consecutive year,” Borsch says. “It is an important initiative and it encourages students to strive for perfect attendance in school. This Christmas party is a great reward for the Emerge students and their families.”

The Emerge Program reaches over 4,000 students in the greater New Orleans area. Since the program’s inception, average monthly attendance has increased by 14 percent, and the total number of students with perfect attendance by the end of the school year has more than doubled.