Students say ‘thank you’ with holiday program at Bermuda Village

Published 8:47 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

BERMUDA RUN – Cooleemee Elementary students read a book to residents of Bermuda Village last week.

It was about a Christmas train that spread joy to boys and girls in rural Appalachia.

Then they sang some holiday songs, before walking among the residents, handing out thank-you cards and Christmas wishes.

The students were then treated to a gingerbread man made by village staff.

It was all a way for the school to say thank you to the residents, who for years have been providing five books for each child to take home over the summer.

In more recent years, Bermuda Village residents also help with back-to-school needs of students in Cooleemee.

Mary Lou James got the idea for the program some eight years ago, when she moved to the village from Raleigh. She had been in a book club that donated a few books to a few students each year.

She called the Davie Schools offices to see if she could start a similar program here, and was connected with Cooleemee Elementary.

“At one time, my house was full of books,” she said.

James has since moved, but was back for the special performance last week.

The effort is now headed by Dr. Joyce Jones, who loves the work after retiring from the public school system.

“It has been one of the biggest blessings for me,” she said. “I went to visit the school and came back with this warm feeling. And the village has responded.”

Virginia Davis says the school is appreciative, and the village residents will do anything they can to hep the students succeed. “They send us wonderful letters.”

Pat Ely enjoys hearing from the teachers, who tell her the donations make a real positive difference in the lives of the students. “They tell us stories about the children, and some of them make you want to cry.

“To see the childrens’ faces light up is just wonderful,” Ely said.