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KERSHAW - Camesha Miller has found more joy in giving than receiving this holiday season.
Camesha, an Andrew Jackson High School senior, bought several gifts for elementary students she mentors through the teacher cadet program at AJHS.
Camesha spends about two hours each school day at Kershaw Elementary School working with eight disabled and special-needs students as a teacher assistant.
She became so fond of the group that she wanted to do something special for them this holiday season.
Camesha asked her parents not to buy her anything for Christmas, but instead for them to allow her to use the money they planned spend on her to buy gifts for her students.
"I used to be a selfish person, but I just changed," she said. "I've seen how blessed I am."
Camesha took the money from her parents, as well as donations from her church – almost $400 – and bought each student at least four gifts.
The gifts she bought included toys, clothing, electronics and a bicycle. She delivered the gifts Dec. 18.
"She made us feel happy," said second-grader Antonio Anthony, whose gifts included a Transformers action figure and shirt.
Antonio and fellow classmate Tierra Kirkland were beaming with joy later that day as they talked about the presents that Camesha gave them.
Camesha said giving is what the Christmas season is all about.
"I decided to give up my Christmas for them," Camesha, 17, said. "It made me feel really good to see them happy."
Nikkina Miller, Andrew Jackson High's teacher cadet instructor, said Camesha's actions set an example for everyone to follow.
"It's an amazing thing because not too many teenagers will give up their Christmas like that," Nikkina Miller said. "It was on her heart – something she wanted to do. I'm so proud of her."
Camesha, the daughter of Rufus and Artimishel Miller, said she would like to one day start a program that mobilizes teenagers to give to the less fortunate. She also wants to teach special-needs children.
"If they're (the students) happy, I'm happy," she said. "Christmas is not all about getting stuff anymore. As long as I'm happy this Christmas, I'm good."
Contact Jesef Williams at 283-1152 or firstname.lastname@example.org