If Santa needs a few elves, he might check Avenue I in Rosenberg.The staff in the Lamar CISD Administration Building transformed their workplace into a holiday display based on the children’s story “Polar Express” and invited the students from the Seguin Early Childhood Center to pay a visit.Tonya Garza, the Director at Seguin, said both the children and her staff were in disbelief.
“Our teachers could not believe the time and trouble the people in Administration took,” she said. “They were all very grateful at the effort made for our kids. The students were awe-struck as soon as they left the bus and saw the people in costume,” she said. “Their eyes got huge. They wanted to touch everything! They couldn’t wait to turn the corner and get to the next surprise.”
Valerie Vogt, who is serving as the District’s Academic Administrator, came up with the idea of transforming the Brazos Crossing Administration Building into a holiday wonderland.
“Our district is so child-centered,” she said. “Accounting, the purchasing department, receptionists, literally anyone who could hold a stapler or operate a glue gun, created their own brand of magic for our little ones.”
Vogt singled out Jennifer Roberts, Director of Student Support Services, for her creativity.“She was an inspiration to the entire building,” Vogt said.
Work began when the staff returned from Thanksgiving, with new features added almost every day. Eventually, almost every wall in the halls was covered in bright wrapping paper. Snowflakes and ornaments hung from ceilings. The receptionist’s desk became a house made of cookies. A full-sized sleigh appeared, as did Santa Claus, who sounded very similar to Superintendent Dr. Thomas Randle.
Each of the 400 students sat on Santa’s lap, as he asked if they had been good during the year.
Employees in the building dressed for the occasion. Many were in elf garb, along with two conductors, toy soldiers and bells on almost everyone. Just like the main character in the story, each student received a bell before talking to Santa.
“This a service project from the employees of the Admin Building to the children of Seguin,” said Laura Lyons, Executive Director of Elementary Education. “No public funds were used for the project.”
Lyons and Vogt thought it was important to give the Seguin students a cultural experience. The four-year-olds will only be at Seguin for one year. There is no parent support group to raise funds for outside trips and no older students to provide the traditional holiday entertainment.
“Cultural experiences are important for students because they help them connect to their community,” Garza said. “All our children know Santa has a sleigh, but none of them had ever seen a full-sized one. And neither have I.” Garza said.