Annual Shop With a Warrior commences giving children a memorable Christmas


Malique Card

The 18th annual Shop With a Warrior allows high school students to bring holiday cheer to children. The long-running tradition teaches NC students the importance of gifting to underprivileged children with a memorable Christmas. NC staff members and students worked diligently to make the event exceptionally successful and the kids happy.

Eladia Scott and Malique Card

With efforts made by NC admin Kennedy Reese, Rachel Connell, Mary Goodwin and Sheryl Cox, the annual Shop with a Warrior event (SWAW) launched without a hitch December 12. Over 30 staff and student volunteers from NC’s North Cobb Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NJROTC), Beta Club and National Honors Society(NHS) united to bring to life the fantastic event, which could not take place without their help. The 2022 SWAW featured a new opportunity for students compared to those held in the past. Staff
offered the option to students to donate $100 instead of shopping with a little warrior to buy presents. They shop to contribute items to Cobb County Christmas, Awtrey Middle School and additional deserving families instead. This extension of SWAW allows NC to expand its reach further into the community. With 76 teams signed up, this remarkable holiday shopping spree provided students and children with an exceptional and enjoyable experience.

“It’s an extremely fun time! As long as you get a fun, happy, chill kid, then it’s a great experience. I’ve seen some crazy kids running around and under things, and I couldn’t handle that, but congrats to the people that put up with that. But bringing cheer to the kids
and their families this holiday season is just an all-around nice eye-opening time,” junior Saraya Demercado said.

On the morning of SWAW (Shop with a Warrior), participating students gathered in the NC cafeteria at 8:45 a.m. They paired into their chosen groups to collect their given SWAW t-shirts and any additional information or gift lists regarding their assigned little
shopper. Simultaneously, balloons and smiles awaited the children after their guardians dropped them off. Once all group members arrived, they met their assigned child. While teams waited for other members’ arrival, the groups with a kid took the time to laugh and
meet each other. Various teams even brought games to play to entertain the kids. Reese then briefed participants on the activities to look forward to for the day.

“I thought it was a fun experience considering the fact that I didn’t have a kid last year so it was definitely a new thing for me and my friends but we all had a good time,” junior Lauren White said.

Everyone then loaded onto the buses to begin their journey to the local Walmart, where the NC marching band waited to perform for their entrance. Students explored and shop for special gifts, toys and treats to donate or present to their little shoppers. Kids bought toys such as toy cars, sports equipment and dolls; kids will definitely enjoy their Christmas with the toys they selected.

After choosing enough gifts, Warriors and their shoppers checked out with a gift card withholding the amount of money donated and proceeded to ride back to school, where faculty and volunteers provided food, gift wrapping supplies, cookie decorating stations, temporary holiday tattoos and a Santa meet and greet.

“I had a fun time with my little shopper. Getting to know him was a fun experience. There were more activities than there were last year. While decorating cookies I got to see my little shoppers’ creativity,” junior Abigail Ndungu said.

With all of the activities, SWAW allowed everyone to enjoy, children left with a guaranteed smile. SWAW shall return in 2023 for the 19th annual event and impact children throughout the community.