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Santa goes to school

Amanda Holt MillerPost Independent Staff
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Angel Simental, 4, peers into his gift bag after his visit with Santa Claus Thursday at the Grand Valley Early Childhood Literacy Center in Parachute. The Grand Valley Kiwanis Club organized the third annual children's Christmas party.
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PARACHUTE – After a quick visit with Santa Claus, Brandon Millius, 4, tore into his Christmas sack and immediately started playing with his new toys.”Hey, look, it’s a kaloo,” Millius said, standing up to better entertain his audience with an orange kazoo in the Grand Valley Early Childhood Literacy Center gymnasium.Millius was one of about 200 pajama-clad children who got to visit with Ol’ St. Nick Thursday. The Center’s pajama day coincided with Santa’s visit to make the event feel more like an authentic Christmas morning.

All of the Head Start, preschool and kindergarten students went home with decorated sacks full of goodies like slinkies, whoopee cushions, jump ropes, coloring books, crayons and fruit.”Unfortunately, some of these kids, this will be all they get this year,” said Bob Campbell, who helped to organize the third annual kids’ Christmas party for the Grand Valley Kiwanis Club.The number fluctuates, but about 47 percent of Garfield County School District No. 16 students qualify for free or reduced lunches, said superintendent Steve McKee. That’s why he approached the Kiwanis Club for help three years ago. The club bought about $1,600 worth of gifts for local youth this year, using funds donated by area companies.

“I got lots of stuff,” said 5-year-old Emma Andersen, pulling gifts out of her bag. “I got this and this, and this slinky.”Andersen also told Santa what else she wanted – things for her horse and Strawberry Shortcake toys.”Ooh some candy,” Andersen said, digging into her bag.Millius and 4-year-old Gage Price blew their kazoos in concert until it was time for their class to march back to its room.



“Frankly it does more for the adults,” McKee said. “It’s wonderful to be able to see this, to see them so happy and smiling.” Contact Amanda Holt Miller: 625-3245 ext. 103ahmiller@postindependent.com


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