Green and red decorations, sparkling lights, the sound of people busily searching for the perfect Christmas gift, and the whoosh of brakes from a big yellow school bus. It might seem incongruous for the school bus to be a part of this busy scene, but for the past few years, the two academic cluster classes at North Newton Elementary School have taken their students to the mall to visit with Santa. It is a time when the children are able to practice social skills in a public setting, work on daily living skills by ordering food in the Food Court, and have a chance to participate in a social norm/holiday tradition that they might not get otherwise. The teachers, Pennie Ader (Interim for K-2), Teresa Younce, Pete Dragstrem, and Nicole Boggs also see the Santa trip as a time for the children to experience both the magic of the Holiday Season, and unconditional love. The focus of the trip is of course Santa, but the greatest joy is in the many hands who participate from the Newton-Conover City Schools Staff to make the trip as smooth as possible. From related services to district office staff, the small area around “Santa’s Village”, is always packed full of generous staff members wanting to make the special day spectacular for these exceptional students.
By: Teresa Younce