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Santa and a life-changing Learning Journey

By Staff | Nov 28, 2019

Meet Sacred Hearts School students at Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 7.

LAHAINA – Sacred Hearts School in Lahaina will be hosting its annual Christmas event, Breakfast with Santa, on Dec. 7.

The origins of this annual event began ten years ago as an idea by sixth grade teacher Patty Wurst and her supportive husband, Barry, to create an enrollment outreach opportunity for the school.

In the beginning, Leilani’s on the Beach graciously hosted the breakfast for Sacred Hearts, but Patty decided to move it to campus so that people could see first-hand the charming school, now nearing its 158th birthday.

Since tickets were sold to cover the cost of the breakfast, Mrs. Wurst thought it would also be a perfect fundraiser for the Middle School East Coast Trip, only if food could be donated and chefs could be found to give their time to cook.

Amazing food coordinator and former parent of the school Cyndi Cowen made that happen! Well known and loved in the restaurant community, Restaurant GM’s and executive chefs were more than willing to help her and Sacred Hearts School! So began the legacy of Breakfast with Santa as a means to raise funds for a life-changing middle school Learning Journey!

This trip happens every other year, and it is expensive! Students spend two consecutive years fundraising $4,000 each to be able to go, and Breakfast with Santa is the leading fundraiser for this trip.

At the Santa event, the students learn restaurant and hospitality skills. The kids work hard preparing tables with centerpieces, wrapping presents, decorating trees for the Santa photo area, crewing stations during the event, helping to serve, assisting attendees with questions and cleaning up all that is left behind. The kids also learn to be gracious hosts to the Lahaina Town community!

“The trip is truly a life-changing experience on many levels for these kids and is worth the two years of fundraising to get there,” said Mrs. Wurst.

In the past, the students have visited Yorktown, Jamestown, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut, Williamsburg and Washington, D.C.

Patty noted, “Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who do not know where many of these places are. This trip takes these seventh- and eighth-graders to these historic areas and makes history come alive for them!”

Eighth-grader and Hearts Council President Pierce Armstrong shared that the year after his East Coast experience, he had to submit a paper on the history of Yorktown. After being there, he shared that “writing about a battle and types of weapons used there did not feel hard to me.” He also admitted, with a grin, that he and his dad, who was a chaperone on his trip, found time to visit the famous steps in Philly where the 1976 “Rocky” movie took place. They blasted the famous “Rocky” song and ran up the stairs with their arms in the air to the famous Rocky statue! Pierce also shared that “we were all so excited to go, but after ten days together, you are ready for time away but know that the group of us is closer than ever!”

In the fall of 2020, the Middle Schoolers will visit historic towns and sites that will teach them about Native American and Colonial history, the Civil War and America’s Involvement in World Conflict, among many other educational topics. Other highlights include a visit to Washington, D.C., to learn about government and exposure to the Arts when they attend a Broadway play and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Current seventh-grader Bria Holmes explained, “The terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, was on my mother’s 16th birthday. That same day my grandfather, a chief petty officer in the Navy, was working in the Pentagon, opposite the blast side of the building, where he was safe. To hear about stories from my family, then to know that I will see both the Twin Towers Memorial and the Pentagon with my own eyes, is still hard to believe.”

When asking some of the seventh-graders what they are looking forward to doing or seeing on this trip, it is fun to hear of their quirky, funny and innocent expectations.

Lauren Brown commented, “I am excited to buy cheap knockoff designer items on the streets of New York.”

Kadin Finlayson added that “he cannot wait to try new foods.”

Come and help get these Middle School kids to the East Coast by attending Breakfast with Santa this holiday season. The event will be on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m on the Sacred Hearts School campus. The delicious breakfast is sponsored by Duke’s Beach House, Penne Pasta Cafe and Starbucks at Lahaina Cannery Mall.

There will be two breakfast options offered: pancakes, eggs, Portuguese sausage, rice and fruit for $10, or a pancake and fruit only choice for $7.

The SHS Honors Choir will share their talents, and photographs with Santa will be available, complimentary of Hopsing Coon! There will be a craft station, a Scholastic Book Fair and an opportunity for local vendors to sell merchandise for a fee of $50. To purchase tickets or rent a spot as a vendor, visit shsmaui.org/giving. Tickets are also available in the school office.