Rebekah Manor

Rebekah Manor resident William Forsberg shuts his eyes and listens as Bishop Carroll students sing Christmas carols to him and other residents on Dec. 22, 2015.

EBENSBURG — For the past eight years, Bishop Carroll High School student council members have spent time spreading Christmas cheer amongst Ebensburg nursing homes.

On Friday and Monday, the students spent time at Home Nursing's adult day care center and Skills. On Tuesday, about 45 students visited residents at Cambria Care Center, Ebensburg Senior Activities Center and Rebekah Manor. 

At the last two locations, each student "adopted" a senior and give him or her a Christmas gift. Students also created cards for the residents at Cambria Care Center and the school's art club made ornaments for every senior at each location, said Joe Skura, Bishop Carroll student council advisor. 

"The students totally organize and run this day," he said as the students sang a selection of Christmas carols to Rebekah Manor residents enjoying lunch. 

"They were great," said Rebekah Manor resident William Forsberg, 90. 

Resident Katie Hugar, who is in her 80s, was decked out in a Christmas sweater as she received a blanket, soap and a cookie from a Bishop Carroll student. Hugar said she grew up in the towm of Cramer, and recalls the caps, sweaters and stuffed stockings she would unwrap on Christmas morning. 

Now, Hugar said she looks forward to seeing the Bishop Carroll students each year and hearing the holiday songs — her favorite part of the season. 

"It's very nice of them," she said. 

Over the years, Skura said, some students have become close with the seniors they've "adopted" and have gone back on their own time to visit. While it's a day out of classes for each student, the visits are all about making an impact on others, he said. 

"To some of the individuals they visited today, the students may be the only person who really spends time with them this Christmas," he said. "I'm inspired by these students, I'm humbled by them and proud of them.

"They're the future of our region and I feel confident that we have a bright one because of the high caliber of these young people." 

Jimmy Wyland, a BC junior, said he's loved seeing each person's reaction to the Christmas gifts over the past three years. 

"It just feels good," he said. "You're brightening someone's day." 

BC senior Hannah Cotchen has been visiting area seniors during the holiday season for all four years of her high school time. Because all of her grandparents have passed away, she said she enjoys spending time with the residents and hearing their stories.

"I like to just see them get smiles on their faces when we come in," she said. "It brings you more realization about what this season is all about."

​Jocelyn Brumbaugh is a reporter for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @JBrumbaughTD.

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