(Jingle bells ring at beginning.)

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! I'm Andrew Missal!

And I'm Spenser Rahm! Welcome to a special edition of the "Bear Facts". Happy holidays from all of us here at Bishop Garrigan High School.

If you came out to Garrigan in the past week, you couldn't help but notice that Christmas was coming. There's a big nativity scene and a Christmas tree in the main lobby, and carols have been playing over the intercom in the hallways. A lot of teachers have decorations up in their rooms, and some people have even put snowmen or reindeer on their lockers. We had a special prayer service celebrating the origins of all the different Christmas traditions last Monday, and Wednesday we had our schoolwide Christmas mass.

Every year some of the most important Christmas traditions at school are service projects where we help other people around the area to have a happy holiday season. For longer than anyone can remember, the student council has participated in the Kossuth County Relief Office's adopt-a-family Christmas program. They went shopping last week for presents to make the season brighter for two area families. Meanwhile the Christian Leadership in Action group has been collecting both toys and money for the Kossuth County CARE team, and students at Seton Grade School have collected presents for Toys for Tots. You may have also seen Garrigan musicians performing around the area at banks and service club gatherings-bringing a little holiday cheer to the community.

Activities Director Ron Patterson got a bit of a Christmas gift this year with some announcements from the state boys and girls athletic associations. The state gives special academic awards to teams with outstanding combined grade point averages. This year all of Garrigan's fall sports--football, volleyball, cheerleaders, and boys and girls cross-country--were recognized for "distinguished academic achievement"-the highest possible award. Boys cross-country had a 3.28 GPA, the state runner-up football team had a 3.33, cheerleading had a 3.44, and volleyball had a 3.61. Most amazing of all was the Garrigan girls cross-country team, which led the state in academic achievement, with a team composite 3.9 grade point average. Congratulations to all of our scholar-athletes.

We have a long tradition here on the "Bear Facts" of taking a little holiday survey of all the Golden Bears. One of our questions this year was "What was the best present you ever got for Christmas?" Jade Kajewski's best gift was a laptop, Nick Reding said an X-box was the "sweetest thing ever", and Chris Kellner liked his shotgun. Josh Berte got a TV,Kristina Schiltz got a ring, and Joe Dailey's favorite gift was The Simpsons on DVD. Kelli Black got a Barbie dream house, Meghan Mayer got a guitar, Alison Brandenburg got a purple Schwinn bike, and Jake Lane got boxing gloves. Holly Byrkeland said her best Christmas gift ever was when her mom and dad said they were going to have a baby. Then there's Shane "Buddha" Koob who said his favorite gift was a bag of Doritos he got from John Parrish.

We also asked people what was the worst present they ever got. Lots of people said clothes, socks, or underwear. Cindy Reding didn't like an ornament her mom thought was cute. Brittany Pfeffer got a school uniform shirt one year, Garrison Brosnan got limburger cheese, and Josh Rahm got a lump of coal. Andrew Missal once got a furby-remember those?-while Casey Crail hated an ugly blanket she got. Gavin Freking said he's never really gotten a bad gift, and Aerin Oh couldn't answer the question, because this will be her first Christmas ever.

Our third question was "What do you want for Christmas this year?" Anna Bormann spoke for a lot of people when she said "money". A.J. Lane said he wanted Hawkeye items, and Candace Schiltz wants jewelry. Pat Elbert wants a cell phone, John Parrish wants a snowmobile, Allison Blocker wants an I-pod, Sara Kunkel wants a digital camera, and Alex Elbert wants hunting supplies. Then there's Eric Goodman, who was very specific in his request for a white 2002 GMC pick-up with leather interior. We're not sure if Santa can fit that one in his sleigh.

The final question in our survey was "What are you planning to do over the holidays". Melissa Cruise said she's be visiting family, seeing people in nursing homes, and going snowmobiling. Logan Wood plans to go hunting, and Jack Bradley says he plans to eat. Chris Lanus wants to hang out with his friends, while Bethany Kirsch wants to spend time with her family. Amanda Steier says she'll spend the holidays sleeping, while Dustin Tindall will be watching TV. Jesse "Danger" Studer will be spending Christmas Eve helping people make their last-minute purchases at K-Mart, and Jeff Lappe will be getting his wisdom teeth pulled over the holidays. Alex Bradley says he just plans to play with his presents, and then there's Scotty Kollasch who says he'll be resting up from the awesome football and cross-country seasons.

Our Senior Spotlight this week shines on Kelly Schmidt. Here to tell you about her is Joe Rahm.

Kelly Schmidt is one of the top students in the Class of 2006-both academically and as an athlete. Among her many activities are basketball, softball, and cross-country. She's also in band, Christian Leadership, and National Honor Society. Kelly takes all the most advanced classes, and we know she'll do well at college next year. Good luck, Kelly!

Thanks, Joe! The Golden Bear calendar is pretty empty this coming week, with just the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Christmas vacation continues through Monday, January 2nd.

Classes resume January 3rd. That night the basketball team travels to Ft. Dodge to play St. Edmond. Then Wednesday is the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Thursday the freshman basketball teams host Humboldt. Then on Friday the varsity teams host Webster City. Finally Saturday the 7th the quiz bowl team travels to North Kossuth and there's the North Iowa honor band.

That's our "Bear Facts" for Christmas Eve. We'll be off next week because of the holidays, but be sure to join us two weeks from now for another "Bear Facts" show. Until then ...

Merry Christmas!

And Happy New Year!

from all of us at Bishop Garrigan High School!

(Jingle bells ring at end.)


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