|12-18-2011, 12:50 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2004
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West TN School for the Deaf welcomes jolly old elf's brother for holiday visit
West TN School for the Deaf welcomes jolly old elf's brother for holiday visit | The Jackson Sun | jacksonsun.com
On the final day of school before the holiday break, students at the West Tennessee School for the Deaf prepared for their annual visit from "Deaf Santa," Santa's deaf brother.
As Santa walked in, he gave a "Ho Ho Ho" in sign language. He got comfortable in a wooden rocking chair next to a fake but colorful fireplace. Children took turns sitting on his lap and sharing their wish lists with him — the whole time conversing in a mixture of vocal and sign language.
Kristi Lindsey, the school's principal, said this has been a school tradition for at least 10 years. The school has 52 students who range from 2-year-olds through the sixth grade. She said they're fortunate to be able to bring Santa's deaf brother for a visit.
"The kids really look forward to it because they get to talk with him," she said. "Some kids are more verbal with their sign language, but they're all still amazed that Santa signed to them."
The school is joined by the Jackson Center for Independent Living to provide time for Deaf Santa to visit. They also brought some book bundles for each of the students that were donated by the Southwestern Company in Nashville.
Beth James, executive director of JCIL, said the company donated about $3,000 worth of books. JCIL works closely with the school and has three deaf interpreters who are on call to help whenever needed.
Deaf Santa needed no interpreter as he spoke with every student and asked what they wanted for Christmas. Some were eager, some were shy and some approached the man in the red suit and quickly backed away. But each one still received a bundle of books and a candy cane.
MarCreshia Phillips, 11, planned to ask Santa for an iPad 2. Karly Bott, 10, said she was nervous to meet with Santa.
"But I will be very excited when I see Santa Claus," she said as she sat in class before he arrived. "I am going to ask him for money for Christmas."
Kalin Williams, 11, planned to ask simply for toys. Kylan Trice, 14, was happy to know Santa was there.
"I feel happy that I have Deaf Santa coming," she said. "I will be able to know what he's saying."
Since Friday was a half-day before the break, Santa's visit marked the end of the semester. Parents and caregivers arrived to pick up their students. Santa invited some of the students' siblings to sit on his lap as well and most took the opportunity to tell Santa what they wished for most.
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller