An early Christmas at Harding Middle School

MERRY CHRISTMAS — Members of the Steubenville High School Interact Club gave Harding Middle School pupil Victor Anway a special Christmas Tuesday afternoon. Taking part in the gift-giving were, front, from left, Makayla Crownover, Suzie Rosaschi, Anway, Seana Ragusa, Ty Artesic and Interact Club adviser Scott Lane; and back, Maggie Fabian, Dajuan Jones and Johnny Agresta. -- Dave Gossett

STEUBENVILLE — Christmas came early for Victor Anway, a pupil at Harding Middle School.

Anway was called to the office early Tuesday afternoon to talk to administrative assistant Jennifer Agresta who then escorted him to a nearby hallway, where an inflatable Santa Claus stood next to a Christmas tree.

“Victor, the Big Red Interact Club is giving you a special Christmas today. So have at it,” said Interact Club adviser Scott Lane.

“Open these presents first. It is stuff you need and I guarantee the rest of the presents aren’t this boring,” Lane continued as Anway opened wrapped gifts containing a bookbag, pens, markers and notebooks.

“Now you are getting to the good stuff,” added Lane as Anway picked up larger packages and revealed Big Red clothing, sweat pants and shirts, socks, a Pittsburgh Steelers winter hat and a Steelers shirt and finally a Steelers drone.

“This is so cool. Thank you all very much,” responded Anway.

“This is our second year of giving a gift to a Harding Middle School student. We want to give some special presents to a student who may be in need. Our goal is to give one student, who would have had almost nothing otherwise, ‘the average kid Christmas’ or, in other words, the Christmas every kid deserves. The kind of Christmas I had,” said Lane.

He said the Interact Club sold hot chocolate every morning in December and raised $300. We went shopping and wrapped the presents Monday,” said Lane.

“We wanted to make Victor feel special this Christmas and help him blend in. That’s what most kids want to do. Just blend in with everyone else,” noted Lane.

Agresta said she had conversations with Anway last week about his clothing sizes and told him Tuesday Santa’s elves were stopping by the school after lunch.

“Victor is a great kid. He has great character and certainly deserves this. I am very happy for him and appreciate the Interact Club members for doing this,” said Agresta.

“I was psyched when I saw all of the presents under the tree. I am extremely grateful for all of this and thank everyone involved, including Santa Claus. I am a major Big Red football fan and a big Steelers fan. I plan on wearing the Big Red shirt to school Wednesday,” stated Anway.

“I will look forward to seeing you at Big Red in a couple of years,” Lane told Anway