Antonio Calhoun, a third grader at Bruce Monroe Elementary School who calls himself "Cool," has never been to Saks Fifth Avenue, the elegant department store in New York. ". . . but I know what it is," said Calhoun, "and it can't be better than this."
"This" is SACS-Georgia Avenue-short for school and Community Store.
SACS-Georgia is located on the first floor of Bruce Monroe School, at Columbia Road and Georgia Avenue NW. Since the store opened Dec. 12, Bruce Monroe pupils have been shopping here for Christmas presents.
Yesterday Santa Claus stopped by, despite his very busy schedule at this time of year, to say hello to pre-schoolers buying gifts for their mommies and daddies.
One child asked him for a Porsche.
"I don't know about that," the man in the red suit said with a laugh. Claus appeared unchanged by the years that have passed since Clement Clarke Moore wrote: ". . . he had a broad face and a little round belly that shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly."
Every class at Bruce Monroe has made a trip to the small store, the children armed with about $5 each to buy presents for their parents, according to Judy Williams, assistant principal in charge of community relations.
The store has been a success in fiscal terms, grossing about $2,000 in its first 10 days, Williams said, and it has been popular with pupils, particularly those who know about Saks Fifth Avenue.
"I like to go Chrstmas shopping but I don't want to have to ask my parents to go downtown with me," said Phyllis Bryant, 8. "It's got to be secret to be a Christmas present. They shouldn't know what I'm going to give them. When I stop here, I can get them something without them looking."
SACS-Georgina Avenue has also been selling its in-expensive jewelry, Christmas cards, pencils, T-shirts, hosiery, candles, plants and other items to parents and neighborhood residents.
The store will remain open after Christmas and may become a permanent institution at Bruce Monroe, Principal Alma Felder said. It is open until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for adults who use the school for cooking classes, exercise classes and hobby classes.
SACS-Georgia Avenue is the result of a grant to 14 District of Columbia schools from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation of Flint, Mich. Bruce Monroe received $5,000 of the grant money, which was to be spent to "provide an opportunity," according to the grant's statement of purpose, "for community residents and educators to work together towards finding solutions to their common problems and concerns . . . as a vehicle for interaction between school and community."
Although it opened less than two weeks ago, the store had to make a $1,000 profit during 1978 or lose a $3,000 second-year grant from the Mott foundation.
Yesterday at SACS-Georgia Avenue, Sharnette Johnson and Astarte Zanders, both 8, were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping.
They asked a reporter not to tell what they had bought for their parents, but you know how reporters are: somebody's parents will be getting a set of glasses and somebody else's parents will be getting a package of stationery.