Between the effects of the pandemic (social distancing, uncomfortable but mandatory masks, limited contact with friends, scaled back recess activities, etc.) and the stress of semester exams, the students of Warren Central Intermediate School were not experiencing the merriest of Christmases this year.
Some concerned teachers got together and decided to do what they could to change that.
The 6th grade department of WCI is composed of Kimberley Walker, Terica Gagophien, Valerie French, Esparanda Sampson, Ursula Patterson and Felecia Massey. These six educators worked before and after school to transform their pod into their very own version of The Polar Express, the fictional holiday train made popular in the book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg.
Halls were turned into festive train cars with lights and decorations everywhere you looked. Students were greeted with decorated trees at classroom doors, and paper and cardboard mantles decked with stockings hung with care.
“We just wanted to bring some joy into the building,” teacher Kimberly Walker said. “Our students are dealing with a lot of stress. Besides the pandemic, they have all been working so hard for their exams. They deserved some holiday cheer.”
In addition to the ornate halls and classroom doors, students were also encouraged to write a letter to Santa. Students then earned golden tickets that allowed them entry to a viewing of the movie based on the book. The tickets were designed to be souvenirs, and one lucky ticket was punched with the word “believe,” a reference to the theme of the classic book. The winning student, Ashunti Bates, received a gift card and more goodies.
Upon entry to the movie, students were treated with hot chocolate, cookies and candy.
The hard work of the teachers had the intended effect as the students obviously enjoyed a very sweet ending to a less than merry year.