English teacher embraces the season of giving


Taylor Cortiz

English teacher Thomas Stewart gifts 120 students with handpicked novels for the holidays.

English teacher Thomas Stewart surprised his students during spirit week with handpicked books as a holiday gift to ensure that no student was left behind during this year’s holiday festivities. 

Stewart explained that his reasoning behind the gifts came from his childhood.

“I grew up incredibly impoverished, so there were countless Christmases where we got nothing… I just wanted all my kids to definitely have at least one gift to open,” said Stewart.

This isn’t the first time Stewart has played Santa. He started the tradition while teaching abroad.

“The first time I ever did this was ten years ago, and that was in Hawaii,” said Stewart. “Those kids are now graduated from college, and they sent this new group of kids books. So it’s kind of come full circle.”

Stewart hoped this gesture might teach his students about the importance of reading.

“Whether you like literature or not, you are gonna be reading the rest of your life… The best way to get better at reading is to practice,” said Stewart.

Stewart also tried to choose books that matched each individual student’s interests and reading level.

“I appreciated it. I was not expecting it,” said freshman Alex Joo. “Over winter break, I hope to read it.”