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TJJD youth pony up a great gift to Ronald McDonald House of Central Texas

By Barbara Kessler, TJJD Communications

Lone Star High School Southeast completed a months-long community service project to help kids in medical crisis with the delivery on Friday of a small herd of toy rocking horses.

Two youth from LSHSSE who’d helped build and paint the toys joined educators in presenting the colorful gifts to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas, in Austin.

The delivery of the nine rocking horses marks the second year that youth from LSHSSE, at Giddings State School, have built and donated rocking horses for the Ronald McDonald House charities.

“It’s becoming a tradition for sure,” said Kristen Urbanovsky, diagnostician at the school. “The boys in construction class, one of the first things they ask is if they can work on that project.”

Word has gotten around campus about this special project and youth enrolled in the woodworking vocational class, overseen by longtime teacher Martin Rangel, are all in for it, she said.

The young men began work in November on this latest set of toddler-sized rocking horses. After they cut, sanded and assembled the wooden parts, other youth in career and technical classes stepped in to ramp up the adorable quotient by painting the horses with wide happy eyes and eyelashes and other artistic flourishes sure to mesmerize small humans.

The two LSHSSE youth at the presentation, W.F. and E.G., appreciated being a part of the day, providing the gifts to kids in need and hearing about how Ronald McDonald houses become a “home away from home” for families at a critical time, Urbanovsky said.

“They were excited to deliver the rocking horses,” she said. “There were lots of smiles.”

Ronald McDonald staff will distribute the donations to kids, or the young siblings of kids, facing serious medical issues and requiring extended hospitals stays.

Ronald McDonald houses across the country provide free or low-cost rooms for the families of children in medical crisis who must travel away from their homes for hospital care. The Austin Ronald McDonald House serves out-of-town families whose children are in being treated at Dell Children’s Medical Center or another nearby hospital.

Attending the donation presentation today from Giddings State School were Urbanovsky, Asst. Principal Dr. Tracey Walker, CTE teacher Laura Watts and JCO V Gardner Shivers.

Ronald McDonald House Volunteer and Programs Director Paula Tanner and House Operations Manager Giovanna Alanis-Vega spoke to the group and received the donations.