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Operation Santa Success: N.C. Air National Guard Delivers

A young boy reaches for a present during Operation Santa held at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

A young boy reaches for a present during Operation Santa held at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) serve food and drinks to families during Operation Santa at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) serve food and drinks to families during Operation Santa at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

Johanna Valencia, cousin of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Bedoya, first sergeant for the 145th Medical Group, conducts face-painting for students during Operation Santa held at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. Bedoya and his family volunteer for nearly every annual event to help with face-painting. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

Johanna Valencia, cousin of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Bedoya, first sergeant for the 145th Medical Group, conducts face-painting for students during Operation Santa held at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. Bedoya and his family volunteer for nearly every annual event to help with face-painting. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Tracie Rankin and other members of the North Carolina Air National Guard help unload bags of donated food from the local Target during Operation Santa held at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Tracie Rankin and other members of the North Carolina Air National Guard help unload bags of donated food from the local Target during Operation Santa held at the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, Dec. 16, 2017. Operation Santa is a local and annual event run by the Chapter 7 organization of the North Carolina Air National Guard. This year, the NCANG provided presents, lunch, music, face-painting, blankets, stuffed animals. They partnered with the local Target for food donations and a craft table, and inflatable castles through Garris and Wilson Entertainment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery)

01/08/2018 – CHARLOTTE, N.C -- Members of the N.C. Air National Guard brought plenty of joy and holiday spirit to 110 students and family of the Aristotle Preparatory Academy of Charlotte during an annual holiday toy drive put on by the N.C. Air National Guard Chapter 7 association and local Target distributor.

“We’re so thankful for the N.C. Air National Guard for sponsoring our entire school and bringing all of the fun, food, and festivities,” stated Charlie French, principal for the Aristotle Preparatory Academy.

Hosted in the school’s gymnasium were an abundance of bouncy castles, activities, face paintings, donated blankets and stuffed animals, holiday music, and a hot meal including a picture with Santa and Spider-man.

“It’s awesome, it’s impressive; it’s my first year doing this, but I’ll definitely do it again,” stated U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tasha Willson, Chapter 7 association president.

The drive is held every year at a different location. N.C. Air National Guard members donated at least two to three presents per child, blankets and stuffed animals, and food.

“I’m most excited to get a football and cleats, I want to play in high school as a wide receiver,” stated Tyler Blocker, Aristotle Preparatory Academy student.

Aristotle Preparatory Academy is a school that is being rehabilitated by a group of teachers and administrators and is overseen by a chartered foundation academy. French and her staff came in June of 2017 and through great efforts and dedication, they received approval from the Raleigh Charter School Board to continue their work. Following their growth, they’re focusing on academics to improve their grading.

“We’d love to have male mentors in the community to mentor the young boys and possibly retired grandmothers who would love to come and read with the students or mentor the female students. Aside from core curriculum, we need to teach them how to love and care and respect each other. We’re trying to raise future citizens for Charlotte,” stated French.

If you would like more information on the Aristotle Preparatory Academy, or to provide assistance, please contact principal, Charlie French at cfrench@aristotlepa.org.