Lani Hall first grade payson elementary school

Students from Lani Hall's first grade class hold props that illustrated a program more than 35 years old.

Lani Hall’s mother had her students perform “Santa’s Workshop,” now Hall has brought back this Payson tradition to her Payson Elementary School first-grade class.

“Many longtime Payson residents may remember this play from their time in school,” she said. “My mom did this play for several of her 35 years as a teacher in the district — and I did it during my time at Frontier Elementary School ... one student found out that his uncle had done the same play several years ago as a first-grader at Julia Randall Elementary in my mom’s class.”

Many may not know of the Frontier school site as it was sold to the Payson Christian School a few years ago.

The play, set in Santa’s workshop, goes through a list of Hall’s students’ names partnering them with a gift Santa will bring.

“From Payson, Arizona here is a list

“Let’s make sure no boy or girl is missed

“We are the toy soldiers that Quinton and Dominic ordered.

“We can march backward or straight forward

“Choo — choo — choo, I’m a little train that will soon belong

“To Lyric and Ryder ...,” and the poetic words to the play go on.

Hall said her class performed twice and did quite well despite their excitement. The actors even had some surprises.

“No real major malfunctions or forgetting of lines,” said Hall. “Our Santa, Brenden Cunningham, thought it was funny that his sister didn’t even recognize him.”

Hall said she dusted off not only the script for the Christmas play, but some of the costumes as well. For any props or costumes required, volunteers helped to fill the gap by making what was needed.

Hall not only used volunteers to prepare, she called on the community to help the production.

“We also had Faith, Aubrey and Katelyn Wilson that accompanied us on our songs,” she said.

Overall, the play added to the first-graders’ learning and Hall’s pride as a teacher.

“I loved getting to see the kids work so hard to do such a good job,” said Hall. “So many life skills were gained through this experience ... for many of the children this was their first experience of this kind and they all were able to memorize their lines and sang the songs very well.”

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I cover the Town of Payson, courts, wildfire, business, families, non-profits, the environment and investigative reporting

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