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Wolfe School gets visit from ‘old Saint Nick’

Santa Claus, provided courtesy of UCPS Maintenance employee Rick Benton, hands a gift to a student during the UCPS Maintenance Department’s 16th annual Christmas party held recently for Wolfe School.

Santa’s annual arrival at Wolfe School brought screams of joy, from the moment he walked into the room, red sack hung over his back.

Santa Claus, provided courtesy of UCPS Maintenance employee Rick Benton, entered the room with a hardy “Ho Ho Ho,” to the delight of approximately 67 exuberant special needs children.

The merriment, courtesy of the Union County Public Schools Maintenance Employee’s Organization, has been a holiday tradition now for 16 years.

“The annual holiday party that the Maintenance staff puts on for Wolfe School is the highlight of our year,” said Wolfe Principal Mary Jo Breckenridge. “The students and staff are so excited. They’ve been talking about it for a week.”

Breckenridge said the morning of the celebration the excitement level is very high waiting for Santa Claus to appear with his sleigh filled with toys. “We would really like to thank the Maintenance Department,” she said. “They do a fabulous job throughout the year supporting us and special needs children.”

The annual celebration began in 1996, the brainchild of the late Tommy Laney, a technical supervisor with the UCPS Maintenance Department. He wanted to celebrate the children at Wolfe School and the staff who teach them. Approximately 55 UCPS maintenance staff were on hand for the December 14, 2012, event.

Teachers and staff at Wolfe School gave suggestions to the party organizers in the Maintenance Department to help in the selection of each student’s gift.

The Maintenance Department raises money through its annual Ed Sweeney Memorial Golf tournament to fund this event, augmented with money from their own pockets. The late Ed Sweeney, who died December of 2008, was a big proponent of the Wolfe Christmas party and had been with it since its inception in 1996.

“We don’t want to forget him (Ed) because he helped start this event and he was the original Santa Claus,” said Steve Kisiah, Assistant Director of Operation and Custodial Services. “He had so much fun doing the party and we all had a lot of fun with him on that day.”

Kisiah said Sweeney would don his Santa gear in the Maintenance Department before the event. “We had to tie on his stomach and help with his boots and the whole time he would be laughing and joking about getting dressed up. He was a very loving person and I hope we never forget that without his influence, this event would not be the success that it has become.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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