Athletes sell Christmas trees as sports fundraiser


Danielle Stein

Christmas trees wait to be purchased during OHS’s athletic fundraiser.

This story was originally published in the second edition of The Lion’s Tale (December 13th, 2021).

Every year the Oviedo High school Athletics department holds the annual Christmas Tree Selling fundraiser. This event is participated in all sports at Oviedo High School, but the real ‘MVPs’ are AP human geography teacher, Kimberly McKernan, and her husband, John McKernan.

Ms. McKernan and Mr. McKernan, both teachers who run the event, put almost a full four months of planning into this event.

McKernan started off by  having a coaches meeting in August. By October, she  emailed and contacted multiple companies including the tree farm, transport guys, and the tent company. After permits are completed, she requests very specific characteristics of trees like number and sizes of the trees. 

Next, she deals with all the truck companies by making sure they deliver to the school, then getting in touch with the tree farm so they can cut down trees, and have them ready for the truck company to pick up.

Invoices are collected and deposit checks are written. OHS boosters took care of all of the invoices and allowed us to use their credit card machines. By the end of October I re-email coaches who haven’t signed up already,” McKernan said. 

By the beginning of November, the tent is set up a week before trees arrive, mosty to get ready for the trees but also as a message to the community that business will be open soon.

The morning the trees arrived,it took about four adults to man each station. Mr. McKernan, four football boys,  Jeffrey Schneider; JV girls volleyball coach, Caitlin Kummer;  another teacher at the school, and  Mrs. McKernan

 “We started at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 12:00 p.m.  It was a large undertaking but was made easier with the help of two extra adults and the number of football players we had this year,” McKernan said. 

One job the McKernan duo performed was taking care of the trees, to keep them healthy for their new home for the holidays. 

“My husband and I watered and cut the ties around each of the trees under the tent and priced each tree. We also set up all the extension cords and canopy for the checkout table,” McKernan said. 

Everyday they  would arrive about 45 minutes prior to opening up to set up the chainsaw, checkout table, music and anything else that needed to be done before customers arrive that day. 

 Usually, sports teams are used as volunteers and many clubs, including her own National Honor Society (NHS) students. 

“Susan Geber and Roxy Duda, came out to make wreaths for several days after school so that we would have them ready for day one of sales.”

Many students would come out and help work on the trees. 

Student workers were in charge of greeting customers, taking trees to cutting and wrapping tables. All tree bottoms are cut just a little and then pulled through the netter. Students are in charge of helping my husband at the table and bringing the trees to the cars, and cleaning up the entire area. If there aren’t any customers they are able to hang out and play any of the games we brought: football, corn hole, spike ball, kick ball, volleyball. It really is a good time out there,” Mckernan said. 

After setting up, McKernan then found volunteers to work shifts selling trees. 

“ I emailed the coaches that signed up to work the first few days to remind them that we needed six students and one adult for every three hour shift. Other helpers include coaches, NHS/Beta club members, random students that want to earn Bright Future hours and parents that volunteer.”

One of McKernan’s favorite parts of this fundraiser is her husband.

Being out there everyday with my husband would be my favorite but getting to work with the students that I’ve taught and haven’t seen for a while and getting to know the ones I have never seen before.”

“My husband and I just took it over in 2020”  Mckernan said when asked how big the fundraiser is for the athletics department but, “I do know that we sold out in six  days in the last two years”