,Students and staff at Clinton High School know that Santa is not the only one who has lots of gifts to get ready to give this holiday season. To help the local community with their own Christmas shopping and to raise funds for the school, the Dark Horses are once again hosting their annual Jingle Mingle Market, a holiday shopping extravaganza now in its third year.
This Saturday, Dec. 7, organizers say everyone is invited to come out and shop the booths of local vendors with them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Usually held in Clinton High’s atrium, this year’s market will be housed at Sampson Middle School in the cafeteria and gymnasium so as not to interfere with testing that will going on at the high school.
“It’s still the high school’s fundraiser but we’re accommodating the SAT,” said Susan Kennedy, Clinton High teacher and coordinator of the Jingle Mingle Market. “It’s important to keep students in the learning environment they are used to, especially with this big, important test so we’re accommodating that.”
Also, last year, shoppers had two days — Saturday and Sunday — to visit the market, but this year the market will return to a one-day event.
“We conduct a vendor survey every year,” shared Kennedy. “Vendors said that since it (the fundraiser) is still in its infancy they thought one day was best. We still had shoppers on Sunday last year but we adapt things every year based on that feedback from vendors.”
So this year for a $3 admission fee — $2 for educators from any school system with a badge and for children under 12 years old —, the community will have a one-of-a-kind, one day opportunity to check items off their Christmas lists by shopping a variety of vendors.
“Right now, we have over 50 vendors who have signed up,” noted Kennedy, “and more are still coming in. We have several new vendors this year too. It’s turning out to be our largest year so far.”
Among the items set to be available for purchase at the market are cosmetics, jewelry, accessories, designer jeans, high fashion clothing, outdoor menswear, gourmet foods, handcrafted silver, children’s books and toys, home decor items like birdhouses and wreaths, and much more.
“We’ve got a wider selection than ever before,” Kennedy said, excitedly, “so make plans to come out and shop. You’ll be able to find interesting, different things. Some of the vendors have sent me pictures of what they’re going to have and I’m just like ‘Wow, that’s so cool.’”
“There will definitely be something for everyone. If you can’t find something here for someone, you’re probably not going to find it,” she added with a laugh. “That person is just too hard to buy for.”
Also available during the market will be concessions — hot dogs and pizza — so shoppers don’t have to leave to eat lunch, and photo opportunities with Santa Claus, sponsored by Clinton High’s Student Government Association (SGA).
And the high school’s SGA is not the only group of students getting involved in Saturday’s fundraiser.
“We usually have 100 to 150 students volunteer and they’re helping from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening. They help set up Friday then help during the day on Saturday and help break everything down that evening,” pointed out Kennedy. “It’s definitely a school event.”
Kenndy is thrilled that so many students want to be involved in the now annual fundraiser as it is yet another fun but educational opportunity for them.
“It’s an opportunity for students to volunteer and learn how to interact with the public, greet people, host a large community event,” she explained. “It’s an opportunity for them to be even more involved in their school and community.”
After Saturday’s event, the money raised for the high school will be used to help fund a variety of teacher and student needs.
“The school raises funds from admission and booth rentals; vendors get to keep 100 percent of their proceeds,” informed Kennedy. “The money will go into the school’s general fund and will be used to pay for supplies for teachers, technology, professional development for teachers, student recognition and awards, anything the school needs. If we need batteries for calculators or calculators themselves that’s where we can find the funds for that.”
And the extra funds are appreciated, noted Kennedy, especially as purse strings have been tightened at all levels.
“The budget has been cut at the federal, state, and local levels so school’s are being cut too. Teachers are having to do more with less so the funds raised may help provide opportunities that we wouldn’t have otherwise,” she said. “Of course, we want to give our students a 21st century education that will make them competitive in the global market and the only way to do that well is to meet the teachers’ needs in the classroom.”
While the market benefits the school, the school is also excited to host an event that helps the local community as well.
“As a school we serve the community and we would like to open our doors for the community and do something to not only help us but to also help local vendors and crafters. It’s really turned into a community event that is mutually beneficial to both and that’s the big thing — making it a community event. We want to it be something that the school and community looks forward to every year.”
For more information about the Jingle Mingle Market, please contact Susan Kennedy at email@example.com.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.