RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Dozens of Rancho Cordova students who shined bright in their schools were honored Wednesday morning as Holiday Stars.

The Christmas wish list was getting longer and longer outside the Rancho Cordova Walmart.

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Caleb Oldham was one of nearly thirty selected by their schools to receive a $100 gift card for their outstanding achievements in the face of adversity.

“It just feels good and nice,” Caleb said.

Caleb’s father has pancreatic cancer. His mom, Cheryl, was tearful as she expressed her gratitude for the gifts.

“It’s the best,” she said. “We have been so encouraged by everyone at his school. They’ve been so supportive, encouraging, so this is just amazing for him and all he has been through.”

School leaders hand-picked the students based on a number of qualities.

“They look for students showing growth, enjoying learning,” one school leader said. “These students have been complimented on how helpful they are.”

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This happened after a Rancho Cordova police officer presented the idea to the city.

“These kids model in their achievements and behavior and we just want to celebrate their accomplishments,” said Chief Brandon Luke.

But other first responders partnered with the selected students for their shopping spree.

Parker Owens teamed up with Parker Wilbourn from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

“I’m excited that I’m going shopping with my best buddy firefighter,” Owens said.

“He is so much fun. I’ve taken him over to the fire engine, given him a tour of it and he’s all pumped up,” Wilbourn said.

No matter what the circumstance, it’s a chance to recognize one another and meet community leaders during a time of year when some may feel left out.

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This is the fifth year of the project.