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By Cheryl Hartz
The Prescott Valley Tribune
As the dark sky lightened Sunday morning, members of the Bradshaw Mountain Shrine Club waited for a busload of children to arrive at the Highway 69 Wal-Mart.
The younger ones - students from Acorn Montessori and Humboldt School District elementary schools - came off the bus excited by the dawn trip from Prescott Valley and what awaited them.
Older kids - representatives from the Bradshaw Mountain High School Student Council, Key Club and National Honor Society - were calmer but eager to shop with their young charges.
After Santa and Mrs. Claus and Papa Bean the Clown greeted them, and breakfast at McDonald's for fortification, the youngsters dispersed to the boys' and girls' clothing departments to spend their allotted $100 each.
A high school student or a staff member or teacher from the schools accompanied them to total their purchases and help them find the correct sizes of hats, coats, gloves, jeans, dresses, shirts, pajamas, underwear and socks.
The children had definite ideas about what they wanted. Trevon sought Spiderman pajamas; Kerriann chose a pink coat with matching mittens and a lacy dress to wear to her Christmas program; Kayli searched for just the right jeans in size 6x; Matthew found pants, a stocking cap and gloves in his favorite camouflage pattern.
And when the first group finished, another busload arrived and the fun started all over again.
Lisa Schroeder, BMHS student council advisor, greatly enjoyed accompanying Kerriann, who turns 10 this week. It was a change from shopping for guy stuff with her two young sons.
Shrine members beamed as bright as the newly risen sun as they watched children come through checkstands with new clothes they can't wait to wear. They agreed getting up at "O-dark-thirty" was worth it.