Happy Holidays! Former Livingston Elementary School teacher buys gifts for 400 students

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A Middlesex County teacher is on a mission to spread the Christmas spirit by purchasing a gift for all 400 students at the school where she used to teach.

Jennifer Olawski no longer teaches at Livingston Elementary School, but that did not stop her from surprising her former students. Olawski gave out the gifts at a special ceremony Friday. The students knew about the assembly, but did not know Olawski would be there.

“They didn’t know I was here, so that was, I think, a big surprise for them,” she says.

Olawski, a phys-ed teacher, did the same gift drive last year at the school. She raised tens of thousands of dollars to buy each child three gifts, hats and gloves.

“I went door to door after work handing out flyers, asking friends and family,” Olawski says.

She says that the lesson that she wants the students to take from this act is that giving is better than receiving.

“The world has so much negativity in it and I just want to shine some light on the positive and teach them that they can, themselves, make a difference. It only takes one person to make a big change,” Olawski says.

Former student Kadir Younge says that he is helping to spread that message.

“She taught me to be respectful and to be a good boy the way I am,” he says. “I want these kids to learn respect, love and friendship.”

Olawski says that the event would not be possible without the help of the community who donated money and time to transport and wrap the gifts.

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