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Prospect Elementary School staff, parents reconstruct Polar Express

Prospect Elementary students peer through the windows of the Polar Express train, constructed by Media Coordinator Sharon Voigt with the help of parent volunteers. (Photo by Rick Crider, courtesy of The Enquirer Journal.)

Students at Prospect Elementary will take a ride on the Polar Express this week.

Media Coordinator Sharon Voigt and parent volunteers, including Glenda Moitozo, Melissa Mozer and Wanda McManus worked together to construct a train out of cardboard.

Students helped create scenery and other components of the winter scene.

Students will board the train, after their ticket is punched, enjoy some holiday snacks and hear the story "Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg.

Voigt began working on the train right before Thanksgiving, after Second Grade Teacher Karen Picerno mentioned the idea.

The students eagerly peeked into the media room for weeks as the train came to life.
"They 'ooh' and 'aah,'" Voigt said. "They're so excited."

Picerno hopes the experience will help the children become a part of the story and helps them to "believe in the goodness of Christmas," she said.

"It's a memory they will have for a lifetime," Picerno said.

Voigt commented that many of the students helped create villages, rocks and other pieces of scenery. So many kids feel like they're a part of it, Voigt said.

The train and surrounding scene was a community effort, Picerno said. It was an effort by the staff, students and parent volunteers.

It is creating a stir in the hallways. Students look at the train as they walk past and often ask Voigt if their class will have a chance to visit the Polar Express.

Younger students will receive a sleigh bell, like the main character in the book. Older students will receive a bookmark. Teachers also have the option to do worksheets in the classroom.

--Reprinted with permission from The Enquirer Journal.

Written by: Carolyn Steeves, Enquirer Journal education reporter
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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