Fes Students Lobby Santa For Presents

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Andy Towle/Roundup

Tanaya Bahe (left) and Sierra Vela work together writing letters to Santa at Frontier Elementary School.

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Andy Towle/Roundup

Nigel Jefferson contemplates his next sentence as he writes his letter to Santa during Brianne DeWitte’s class at Frontier Elementary School.

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Andy Towle/Roundup

Chelsey Stasny looks over her letter to Santa during the class time allotted for this seasonal activity at Frontier Elementary School.

Electronic-seeking second-graders in Brianne DeWitte’s class at Frontier Elementary School crafted letters to Santa Thursday in preparation for the big fellow’s descent into local chimneys.

The most anticipated Christmas event was the receiving of presents, especially electronics, an informal poll of students found.

Zoey Montellano requested a guitar, a Nintendo DS and a Game Boy. Angel Mercer desired Sponge Bob paraphernalia, a PlayStation 3 or an X-box. Makyla Hill also sought a Nintendo DS, an X-box or an I-pod.

Not all students were asking for expensive electronics, however. Linda Hill wanted a snow globe to supplement the five she already owns. “I’m collecting them,” she said.

“I just want a pet,” said Hope Lootans. Three to be exact.

“I wonder what it would be like if I got one,” she said. Lootans, after inquiring about the elves in her letter, also informed Santa what her siblings wanted. Incidentally, Lootans’ sister also wanted a dog, albeit one that swam.

Andrew Henning’s parents have apparently instilled in him the true meaning of Christmas. “I like how Jesus was born on the day,” he said.

Alas, Henning was still not immune to electronic temptation. He wanted a Wii game system for Christmas.

DeWitte said she teaches her students about various global holidays and Christmas traditions, and then they make a book.

Some years, DeWitte has students of diverse religions in her classroom, which allows her to broaden the students’ holiday knowledge, but this year the class’ composition is more homogenous.

In continued dedication to diversity, DeWitte has lowered a table in her classroom, and students vie for turns to sit there on cushions like the Japanese.

“We’re learning to count in Japanese,” DeWitte said. (Her husband served in the military overseas and her stepdaughter was born there.)

She’s also teaching her students the alphabet in sign language.

Letter writing is part of her ordinary class lessons, and so the Roundup’s request for Christmas letters to print later in the month — stay tuned — complement that mission, DeWitte said.

Writing letters helps children learn how to express themselves with words, and helps them develop handwriting skills.

“It’s learning that’s got a purpose,” DeWitte said. Second-graders also make the jump from reading “the cat ran,” to flipping pages in chapter books.

Two students curled up on a small couch in DeWitte’s room after letter-to-Santa writing. They read “Cam Jansen and the Snowy Day,” a book in a series about a sleuthing student with a photographic memory that helps her solve mysteries.

Other students worked at taking apart cable boxes to put them back together. The class has also performed surgery on VCRs and boom boxes.

But the Christmas spirit permeated the air like perfume as students periodically dropped off their colored snowflakes or letters to Santa to DeWitte.

Perhaps Makyla could deliver them. “I go to the North Pole every year to see Santa,” she said. Her family drives three days to get there. “I get to see the Northern Lights,” she added. “My dad has a job up there.”

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