Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
CHS Film Club Presents “Polar Express Experience”
The second annual “Polar Express Experience” was held at CHS December 14. The event was sponsored by Film Production teacher / Film Club adviser TJ Kohlbrenner and coordinated by members of the CHS Film Club. Its goal was to benefit ‘A Child’s Place’ of Mecklenburg County. The experience is based on the 1985 children's book The Polar Express, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, which was made into a movie in 2004. Kohlbrenner said the idea for the “Polar Express Experience” started two years ago when the Film Club wanted to host a holiday movie event. Activities grew from their decision to base the event around The Polar Express. Over 125 participants enjoyed the experience this year.
The Polar Express tells the story of a boy who hears a train whistle on Christmas Eve night and finds a train outside waiting to take him and other children to the North Pole. On the train ride the children, dressed in pajamas and robes, are treated to candy and hot chocolate. When they arrive at the North Pole, the children join a huge gathering of elves waiting to see Santa begin his journey. The boy is selected to receive the first gift of Christmas. He could have any gift he could imagine, but chooses a sleigh bell from one the reindeer harnesses because of its sweet sound. He drops it in his robe pocket. On the train ride back home he discovers a hole in the pocket and the bell gone. The next morning he finds the bell returned to him in a small package from Santa along with a note to fix the hole in his pocket! When the boy’s mother can’t hear the ring, he realizes only those who truly believe can hear the beautiful sound of the bell.
In similar events, the participants of the CHS "Polar Express Experience" wore their pajamas, got to ride a train throughout the school, were treated to goodies and hot chocolate, played games, and even got to meet Santa! The CHS Chorus directed by Janet Hall entertained with holiday songs.
Ms. Hall said, "Mr. Kohlbrenner invited us to sing carols for the event last year and this year. We sang Deck the Halls, Feliz Navidad, Silent Night, Frosty the Snowman, and Winter Wonderland to name a few. The chorus students decided that helping homeless children was a most worthy cause to give a few hours of their weekend! Participating in the Polar Express was optional for my students. I did not require that participate in this event. They started practicing carols in November to be ready for the event. The students were very excited to sing for the little children as they rode by on the holiday train with their parents! We hope to get invited to sing again next year!"
“We loved it! William (age 4) had a wonderful time! The train ride was awesome with carolers along the way, movie clips showing throughout the ride, all followed up with a visit on Santa’s lap. There was Bingo, coloring, corn hole, pin the nose on Rudolph, and several other games. Everyone got hot chocolate and candy, followed by “The Polar Express” in the Auditorium!” said parent and CHS teacher Catie Helms.
"It was a perfect event for such a cold and wet day. Families were able to get out of their houses and come to Cuthbertson for a great event for a great cause. Seeing so many smiling faces made it all worth the effort,” said Kohlbrenner.
(Below, right) William Helms and Savannah Goodner, both age 4, look back from their train ride through the school.
Written by: Paula White
Posted: Dec 19, 2013 by Paula White