The Herald Bulletin

December 24, 2013

Classic poem and singalong send kids home for the holiday

By Randy Rendfeld The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — EDGEWOOD — Elementary students recently took turns approaching a microphone and added a few more lines to Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem that begins, “Twas the night before Christmas, and all thro’ the house ... Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

For parents, the event was standing room only in the Edgewood Elementary School gym for “Edgewood Elementary Presents The Night Before Christmas and Christmas Sing-a-long.” The crowd spilled out into the hallway Friday, the final day before Christmas break.

The school’s 320 students treated their families to about 40 minutes of poetry and songs.

Edgewood parent Ashley Davis came to watch her 5-year-old son in the program. “He’s excited for toys,” she said. “He’s on his best behavior.”

“When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer. ...”

“Just seeing the kids enjoying the holiday spirit, that’s what it’s all about,” said Tim Edsell, Anderson Community Schools interim superintendent, who was among the overflow crowd at the doorway of the gym. “Giving joy and spreading joy. You will see a lot of smiles on people’s faces watching kids perform.”

Inside the gym, music teacher Staci Miller was waving her arms to try to keep all the singers together.

“It brings everybody together,” Miller said. “It brings joy into children’s hearts. And parents, they have so many things going on, and getting ready for Christmas, and kids have tests at the end of the semester. Then to join together and sing our favorite songs and hear a classic Christmas story, now I’m ready for Christmas to begin.”

“He had a broad face, and a little round belly

“That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly. ...”

Miller said her passion was to involve literacy and creativity in her teaching. So the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” -- mixed with songs -- made a perfect fit.

Presiding over the program was Santa Claus himself who sat in the middle of the gym. Principal Judi Shafer explained that it was really Santa’s helper, Francis Shafer, her brother-in-law, filling in for Santa. Earlier in the day, Santa’s helpers, Bruce Swafford and Pastor Marc Adams, showed up at the school and talked to any of the kids who wanted to talk about Christmas.

“He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk. ...”

“Parents love watching their children perform,” Principal Shafer said. “And if we can help in that, it makes our hearts happy.”

“I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight — Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

My favorite part of Christmas is ... Edgewood fifth-graders answered the first part of a sentenced posed to them by The Herald Bulletin: "My favorite part of Christmas is ..." They answered: ◆ " ... Giving back to kids that are not as lucky as I am. ... Just think if you did not have presents on Christmas Day." -- Allie Bramwell ◆ " ... Sitting by the fire and just having fun with my family." -- Ryan Barcus ◆ " ... To listen to Christmas music and decorate the house and tree." -- Maddy Mudd ◆ " ... Not just the gifts under the tree. It is the time I spend with my family and the birth of Jesus." -- Ashley Hudson ◆ " ... Giving. I like to make people happy that can't afford to buy presents." -- Brandon Davisson ◆ " ... Spending time with family because you won't have forever to spend time with family." -- Cecelia Litten ◆ " ... Spending time with my family looking at Christmas lights and celebrating the birth of Jesus." -- Kaia Schultz