For more than 25 years as the holiday season approached, Ripon elementary students have picked out gifts for their parents, grandparents and siblings with none of the recipients aware of what was purchased until the day of Christmas.

   The Keeper’s Store makes this possible.

   It’s a pop-up holiday shop that enables elementary students to shop without a parent or sibling so they can purchase gifts for them, explained Sheri Schmidt, who has been in charge of organizing Keeper’s Store for eight years as the FBLA adivsor, noting the FBLA now runs the store.

   Instead of shopping with relatives, elementary kids shop with a high school FBLA student.

   Schmidt noted the store program was operating long before she first worked in the school district 25 years ago, and used to be run through a co-op program that enabled high school students to set up the shop in an open downtown storefront.

   However, about 15 years ago, Keeper’s Store was moved into the schools, so every December, the high school students set up the Keeper’s Store and spend a day and a half, each, helping youngsters shop at Barlow Park/Journey and Murray Park/Quest elementary schools.

   Read the full story, including comments from high school students regarding the store, in the Jan. 2, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.