Seniors launch Secret Santa

Julia Aizuss

About one-third of Upper School students signed up to participate in a school-wide Secret Santa gift exchange initiated by Prefect Council Nov. 14, HW Santa app creator Austin Chan ’13 said.

“We felt like it was a really fun activity that the student body would enjoy,” Head Prefect Katie Lim ’13 said. “It just adds to the holiday cheer and festivities.”

The selection process for gift-givers and recipients for HW Santa began Monday, and gifts are due Friday. Students were able to register over the weekend through either an iPhone app or a website, which were created by Austin Chan ’13 and David Lim ’13. After selection, the giver and recipient can anonymously message each other to get to know one another better and discuss gifts.

Lim came up with the idea of a school-wide Secret Santa in late November, when he was thinking of a better way to organize Secret Santa for the Chronicle, of which he is an editor-in-chief. Because of their work together redesigning the Chronicle website, Lim came to Chan with the idea, and they further developed it together. They began talking to administrators and Prefect Council after Thanksgiving to gain the school’s approval and get help in promoting the gift exchange to students.

After Lim designed the app’s wireframe, Chan completed the coding in two weeks and created the website in one day. It was Chan’s first iPhone app to make it onto the App Store, Lim said, and Chan also managed to convince the App Store to shorten its app review process from one week to eight hours.