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The joy of giving


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 25, 2000

Among the submissions this month were countless stories of generosity and kindness. Thank you for the gifts of your creativity; we're sorry we could not publish them all.

One teacher noted this month's Xpressions assignment "opened some of (her students') eyes to the fact that they have been too often on the receiving end and not often enough on the giving end." Virginia Pake of Greco Middle School in Tampa said many of her students reported, "My mom always buys the gifts and just tells me to sign my name."

Sometimes we don't realize that we are giving significant gifts. Mrs. Pake assured her students, "They had given more than they knew, even if the gift was just a hug."

Of course, receiving gifts is wonderful, too. There were many reports of how moms and dads respond to gifts from their children: "This is the best gift I've ever received!"

That feels good, for giver and receiver both. Happy holidays!

- Nancy Green, Xpressions editor

The best present I ever gave

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Please Xpress yourselves

Xpressions is our monthly showcase for the art, writing and photography of students through the 12th grade. It appears the last Monday of each month in this space. This month there were many pieces that could not be considered because they were missing key information, such as last name, age, grade, school, or legible writing, so please read the following instructions carefully before submitting your work.

Here are the upcoming themes and postmark deadlines:

JANUARY: I am the one who . . . (poems or art that describe you without using your name), as in "I am the word worker who is fueled by young creativity, the singer of songs, the mysterious one . . ." Writing, artwork and photography should capture the essence of you. Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 8.

FEBRUARY: Equestrian inspiration, the all-horse issue. Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by Feb. 5.

MARCH: High school poetry contest. Poems must be non-rhyming and a maximum of 10 lines; middle school contest will be in April.Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by March 5.

Please send your work, theme suggestions (WE REALLY WANT TO HEAR YOUR IDEAS FOR THEME SUBJECTS) and comments to: Xpressions, c/o Nancy Green, St. Petersburg Times, 1000 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, FL 33602.

All work must follow the designated theme and be your own creation. Artwork must be on white, unlined paper, with the medium stated on the back (oil, pastel, crayon, etc.). Be sure to include your name (printed legibly), age, school, grade, address, ZIP code and phone number, with area code. IMPORTANT: YOUR WORK WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED WITHOUT THIS INFORMATION. Stories must be no longer than 150 words, preferably type-written. We will return work only if you indicate that you want it back.

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