FRONTENAC — Unbeknownst to Frontenac Junior High students when they came to school Tuesday, their teachers had planned a surprise party just for them.

After their first class, the students were told to put their belongings in their locker and make their way down to the gym for an assembly.

“It was a total surprise for them,”Junior High Teacher Jamie Reagan said.

This was the first time FJH had a special holiday event for their students and they hope to make it an annual event, Reagan said.

Reagan said every junior high student was included in the event, there were no qualifications such as grades needed to join the party.

Reagan said the event was a team effort where the staff, parents and community brought ideas together and made donations to make the event possible.

FJH teachers teamed up with Frontenac Bakery to bring the students cinnamon rolls and the students were given hot cocoa to wash them down.

“We are so blessed to have community support to help fund the event,” School Counselor Brandy Stanley said.

There was a photobooth and the students were provided paint to decorate ornaments. After the craft they watched the movie “Elf” and Santa came to visit to help draw for gifts.

Tuesday was also “ugly sweater” or holiday wear day at the school. Students wore Rudolf shirts, snowman shirts and an assortment of ugly sweaters.

During craft time, three sixth graders dressed as elves and their classmates sat around a table and dabbed a bit of red paint on their nose to look like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

“This is fun,” Maggie Payne said. “It’s really great.”

The sixth graders said they really liked the cinnamon rolls, which were nearly the size of a plate.

One of those students, Alyssa Hite, said she had a sneaking suspicion, but nevertheless had fun.

“This is fun,” she said. “I sorta knew something was going on.”

At another table sixth grader Gavin Caldwell — in his Rudolf light-up sweater — painted a snowman ornament with care.

“It’s really nice to do something like this for us,” he said.

Wearing a “Star Wars” T-shirt and a light-up Christmas light necklace seventh grader Austin Safley mingled with his classmates.

“This is pretty cool,” he said. “Every school I’ve been too have not had something like this.”

His classmate Nicholas Giordano — dressed in a colorful holiday suite — agreed.

“It’s really awesome,” he said. “I’m glad I can be at this school.”

Eighth grader Lily Gariglietti said she appreciated the effort the teachers put into the party, something she said she knows students have a hard time showing at times.

“It is good to know that our teachers dedicated their time and put this much effort in us,” she said.

Gariglietti said the event put everyone in a Christmas spirit and it is a good end to a season before winter break.

Junior High Principal Mike Martin applauded the staff for their dedication to their students and the support by the Frontenac community.

“It shows the support within the community, along with donations from parents,” he said. “It is a positive towards our staff … it’s been great for the kids.”

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.