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Monett High hosts annual Christmas event

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Clients of the Barry-Lawrence Development Center were among the special guests at Monett High School's annual Miss Merrie Christmas assembly. Representatives from each of the high school's clubs and organizations gifted the youngsters with a variety of holiday presents. The school has hosted clients from the Development Center for a special holiday program for over 15 years. [Times Photo by Melonie Roberts]
Monett High School's Miss Merrie Christmas Mackenzie Lay presided over an assembly held Wednesday, welcoming special guests, the clients of the Barry-Lawrence Development Center.

In her comments to the student body, Lay compared her high school journey to a ride on the Polar Express.

"You hop on and everything is scary at first," Lay said. "You want to find a place to fit in; somewhere you feel that people appreciate you for who you are. You meet the other passengers and immediately start trying to impress them by doing ridiculous things even if you're uncomfortable with them. Once you get on that track, this becomes who you are."

Miss Merrie Christmas Mackenzie Lay, pictured above, read a traditional holiday story, "T'was the Night Before Christmas," to clients of the Barry-Lawrence Development Center at the school's winter assembly, held on Wednesday. Lay's atten-dants, Sophie Fulton and Maddie Schmidt, are also pictured. Below, Lay is escorted into Wednes-day's winter assembly by Chris Renteria and Brian Beckwith. The annual event also included performances by several choirs and the Pizzazz Poms dance team. [Times Photos] [Order this photo]
Lay went on to say that changing a train's direction can be difficult.

"It's easier to stay on your own way through this journey instead of jumping on someone else's coach and becoming the same," she continued. "To do this, you'll need some help; a conductor, technical support and encouragement. You usually find this from where you began; your morals, your family and your childhood."

Lay went on to say the Polar Express, or high school, is an experience that will create opportunities to make a positive impact for everyone on board.

"Whether it's smiling at them when you make awkward eye contact in the hallway of the train, helping someone pick up the contents of a suitcase they dropped or being kind to a passenger that isn't so kind to you," she said. "Be the difference in that passenger's life that is having a rough ride. Put yourself aside and think about the difference you could make with one little thing. I promise you, it feels better than getting a Christmas present."

Lay told students the Polar Express is the end of their childhood journey.

"You either made something of yourself or are still trying to strive to become that person you were meant to be," she said. "You can stand for what you believe is right or be a bystander to a train wreck waiting to happen.

"I encourage each of you to think about what compartment of the Polar Express you are on," Lay said. "Is it your own or someone else's? Is your conductor in control or a fellow passenger? I hope that everyone finds their home on the Polar Express and starts to make a mark on the railway.

"Merry Christmas and God bless," she said.

Students then escorted clients from the Barry-Lawrence Development Center into the gym, where Lay read "T'was the Night Before Christmas," and gifts from the high school's clubs and organizations were delivered.

Santa Claus made a surprise visit to the gymnasium, stopping to welcome each client from the center with a quick word and a handshake.

Musical performances were delivered by the Women's Choir, the MHS Jazz Band and MHS Concert Choir.

The assembly ended with a special holiday performance by the MHS Pizzazz Poms.

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