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Cedar Hill students go wassailing for a cause
Jessica A. Botelho
CHEERFUL CHILDREN: From left, Michael Ryan, 10, Shannon McCamish, 11, Meaghan McCamish, 8, Carina Cardi, 7, and Olivia Cardi, 10, enjoy Christmas caroling.

More than 25 students from Cedar Hill Elementary School went Christmas caroling for an hour in Cowesett the night of Dec. 23 and collected donations for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They visited more than 20 homes and sang 14 classics like "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

Sixth grader Shannon McCamish, 11, said she has wanted to organize a fundraiser for quite some time but wasn’t sure where to start. But then she spent some time with her mother’s friend, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disorder passed down through families that causes issues in lungs, the digestive tract, and other areas of the body, and realized she desired to raise money to fight the disease.

“It’s something that kills a lot of people and it feels really good that we can help, especially during the Christmas season when people should be giving,” Shannon said at the event.

Her schoolmate Maddy Cuddy, 11, agreed.

“It’s really cool how our school and neighbors came because it shows that people care,” she said. “Not only are we helping people; it’s also fun. It’s a win-win situation and that makes it 10 times better.”

She also said without Shannon and her family, including Shannon’s mother, Dina McCamish, who joined the children during the event, they wouldn’t have planned the fundraiser. With that, she looked at Shannon and said, “Thanks.”

Nathan McCamish, 10, a fourth grader, and Katherine Gannon, 12, a sixth grader at St. Rose of Lima School, said they were happy to help people in need.

“They deserve it,” Katherine said.

Just moments later, the children began their singing sortie through the neighborhood and rang the doorbell of Jim Pardy. To his delight, they sang, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and he said the experience made him think of Christmas memories from his childhood.

“It takes you back a few years,” Pardy said.

They also stopped by Sandy Hulsman’s home, who also enjoyed the visit.

“It’s a great surprise,” she said.

Kevin Audette and his son Dave, who recently graduated from Toll Gate and is attending the University of Rhode Island, said it was great hearing the children sing. In fact, Kevin went caroling the following evening.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen carolers,” said Dave.

While the children went wassailing, they shared their best moments of 2011 and what they hope 2012 brings.

For third grader Meaghan McCamish, 8, she’s looking forward to spending time with her family on New Year’s Eve. They build an ice rink in their backyard using wood beams, which they line with plastic and fill with water she hopes will freeze.

“Then, we invite people over and play hockey,” she said.

Second grader Carina Cardi, 7, also plans to participate in an outdoor sport this winter. In 2012, she’d like to add skiing to her resume.

“It would be fun to go down hills,” she said.

Michael Ryan, 10, a fifth grader, will visit his cousin’s house to ring in the New Year. He said the best part of 2011 was traveling to Florida with his cousin, who had never flown on a plane before.

For 2012, he is looking forward to taking part in a particular school project.

“I would like to do the wax museum because you get to dress up as someone from history and pretend to be them,” he said.

Fifth grader Olivia Cardi, 10, can’t wait to go to Vermont for the holiday. It’s a yearly tradition she does with her family. “There are fun activities to do like going on waterslides and going camping.”

Her plans for 2012 were thoughtful and touching.

“I’d like to go caroling again next year,” she said.

Dina said she’d love for it to be a new trend.

“We have the perfect neighborhood for it because we have a strong sense of community,” she said.

Before and after the event, the children feasted on cookies and enjoyed hot chocolate, courtesy of Panera Bread.


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