Santa Drops By Hall-Woodward Elementary
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By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
JANUARY 2, 2019 – When Santa dropped by Hall-Woodward Elementary on the Friday before Christmas, he joked around a bit with the students before giving each of them a book.
When he visited the kindergarten class where Rosalind Jenkins is the teacher and Luz Sanchez is the teacher assistant, he asked students how many of them like broccoli.
From the way he asked the question, it was clear he expected to hear such responses as “Yuck!”
In fact, one hand shot right up.
“Me!!! I like broccoli!” said Hayleigh Brinkley.
Hayleigh had a question for Santa.
“Where did Mrs. Claus go?” she said.
“She’s baking cookies,” Santa said.
With the assistance of elves from the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Santa began passing out books to all of the students. While that was going on, Hayleigh shared the reason why she likes broccoli.
“I like broccoli because it tastes yummy,” she said.
Santa – who is known to some as Barry Westmoreland – visited Hall-Woodward on the last day before the holiday break, and, in another classroom, Santa got exactly the answer he expected to the question “Are you ready to get out of school for Christmas?”
The response was a collective “YEEESSS!!!” that would have provided enough power to keep the holiday lights throughout Winston-Salem shining brightly for at least 24 hours if it could have been converted to electricity.
The Chamber of Commerce has a long-standing relationship with Hall-Woodward. Throughout the school year, chamber volunteers tutor students, and, at the holidays, chamber elves accompany Santa on his visit.
This year, Jennifer Cobb, Tina Long, Ethanie Good, Rodessa Mitchell, and Barbette Dunn joined Santa as Rachel Patterson, the school’s Instructional Facilitator for kindergarten through second grade, took Santa & Co. to all of the kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes.
“They are happy and excited to share their books with their parents when they go home,” Patterson said.
Julie Beck, the school’s Reading Interventionist, came along as well. It was Pajama Day at Hall-Woodward, and Beck and many other adults and students were wearing fun outfits. Beck said she was delighted that the students had the chance to visit with Santa in person.
“It gets them in the spirit of Christmas,” Beck said.
In one kindergarten class, Beck gave a hug to Bentley Skidmore who had made a map for Santa. It was designed to make sure that Santa would be able to find his way to all the stops along the way and to return home to Mrs. Claus at the North Pole.
In one pre-kindergarten class, both teacher Vicki Spriegel and teacher assistant Casey Glarner used the word “magical” to describe what the visit from Santa was like for the students.
While Santa was visiting with her students, pre-kindergarten teacher Shanda Morrison said, “It gives them joy and hope.”
The excitement on the students’ faces makes it a great experience for the teachers, too, Morrison said.
And it’s not just seeing Santa that made the visit such a great experience, said kindergarten teacher Nora Pauley, who works with teacher assistant Misty Hughes.
Having a book to take home and keep is a wonderful bonus, Pauley said. “It lights them up.”