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November 7, 2014

Good Samaritan Medical Center-Sponsored James Edgar Community Service Award expands to include Essay Contest

Friday, November 07, 2014


Local fifth graders invited to share how James Edgar inspires them.

Good Samaritan Medical Center in partnership with Brockton Public Schools is pleased to announce the 1st Annual James Edgar 5th Grade Essay Contest.  Now in its fifth year, the James Edgar Community Service Award is presented to an individual who best exemplifies the spirit of James Edgar in his or her community support of Brockton's children.  

"James Edgar was a businessman who was passionate about his contributing to his community.  Known to us, now, as the First Department Store Santa, what he started 125 year ago out of his store on Main Street shaped how every American celebrates Christmas today,"  said John Merian, Brockton businessman and president of the Downtown Brockton Association which coordinates the Annual Holiday Parade.  "Edgar's legacy is one that reaches beyond our city and out into the world and we are honored to be a position to keep it alive with the Community Service Award and now this Essay Contest." 

Fifth Graders in the city have been provided with a short biography of James Edgar, written by the late Robert Kane, a well-known local historian.  Students are asked to read Kane’s four-page story of Edgar’s life and write a 150-word essay on how Edgar inspires them.  The winning essay will be selected by committee vote with two honorable mentions.  Each will be published in the Annual Parade Guide Book, invited to ride on a float in the parade on November 29, and will be presented with a new Notebook Computer at the Winter's End Celebration in March. 

“James Edgar was a businessman who cared about his community and truly gave back to Brockton in every way he could, and that is why he is remembered to this day,” said Superintendent of Schools Kathleen A. Smith, JD.  “James Edgar demonstrated that one person’s contributions can change the world, and we believe that sharing his story with our Fifth Graders will inspire them to give back in their own way.”

"Good Samaritan Medical Center has always been honored to sponsor the James Edgar Community Service Award and over the last five years have seen some very wonderful individuals be nominated by their neighbors," said John Jurcyzk, President of Good Samaritan Medical Center.  "When we were asked to extend our sponsorship to the essay contest we were happy to do so, to have a chance to encourage the youth of Brockton in their education and growth as citizens."
The essay rules and Edgar bio will be distributed to 5th grade classes in the Brockton Public Schools.  Students who do not attend BPS are welcome to enter an essay and may request a copy of the Edgar Bio and Essay rules by sending an email to [email protected].  Deadline for essays is November 14, 2014

About USA Christmas Town
USA Christmas Town is the sponsoring organization of the Annual Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting and Santa Hat Challenge, Winter’s End Celebration, and Christmas in August at The Brockton Rox.  The organization takes  inspiration for community service from Brockton businessman James Edgar who became the world’s First Department Store Santa in 1890.  Overseen by the Downtown Brockton Association, USA Christmas Town’s mission is to create a spirit of community giving in the City of Brockton.  For more information or to become a volunteer elf, please visit

About Brockton Public Schools
The Brockton Public Schools is a nationally-recognized leader in urban education.  Serving more than 17,400 students in grades PreK-12, the district has high expectations, innovative strategies and a commitment to ensuring that all students are provided with the highest quality education. Brockton is among the largest school districts in Massachusetts and is home to the largest high school in the region – the 4,200-student Brockton High School.  The district also boasts nine K-5 elementary schools, two K-8 schools, two early education centers, six middle schools, four alternative schools, an early childhood center and an adult learning center.  More than 50 languages are spoken in schools across the city, and the district offers a variety programmatic options that include special education, bilingual education, talented and gifted programs and alternative education. For more information please visit