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The Polar Express Returns to Antioch!

 The Polar Express steamed into the Antioch Elementary Media Center on December 17, 2013, continuing a beloved Antioch tradition. All Kindergarten students and a group of students from Mrs. Webb’s class were invited to be “passengers” and take a magical trip to the Land of Story at the “North Pole”!

Media specialist Kimberly Kovach joined the staff at Antioch in August and was determined to keep the tradition alive. “Even when I was a middle-school media specialist in another part of UCPS I had heard about this event, and I knew it was very special to this school community. This is truly a labor of love but it is all worth it to see the delight on the faces of out Kindergarten students as they see the train and hear the story."

Passengers were invited to wear their pajamas and were greeted at the door by the train’s Conductor, Mrs. Kovach. As the children entered the media center and handed their ticket to the conductor, they entered a Winter Wonderland of twinkling lights, snowflakes, woodland creatures, and Christmas trees.

The day’s “trip” began with time in the Polar Express Café, where students decorated holiday cookies and sipped warm cocoa as they sat next to a crackling fire (provided by a fireplace video on the Promethean Board).

Next was time to explore and get photos taken on the Polar Express train. The train is a two car, child-size replica of a model Polar Express train. Several years ago the train was designed and built by a parent and it never fails to impress the children and parents alike. The students each get a turn to go into the train and have their picture taken looking out the window.

Following train time was the highlight of the day… story time! Mrs. Kovach, as Conductor, gathered the children around her and read aloud The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, the Caldecott award-winning children’s book about a young boy who boards a magical train on Christmas Eve and receives the first gift of Christmas, teaching him a lesson about the magic of belief.

Mrs. Kovach wanted the story time to be a relaxing but powerful time for all the students, teachers, and parents who attended the event. “I believe that stories have such power and beauty, especially this one. What better gift to give our youngest readers than time to be immersed in a story, engaging all their senses in an experience they will remember all through their school years?” she stated.  Parent Melissa Sarcona shared, “It was such a special time to enjoy the story all cuddled up with my daughter, and have that time together. It’s a great memory.”

After the story was read, every child received a bell to keep as a memento of their time on Antioch’s Polar Express. (You must read the story to learn the meaning behind the bell!)
Kindergarten teacher Amy Reder expressed that “reading [the story] made it so special… it [was] such a special day for our Kinders.” Mrs. Kovach agreed that her first Polar Express was simply magical and thanks the Kindergarten team, Antioch staff, and especially all the parents who volunteered their time and efforts to making this year's event a success for Antioch’s Kinder-gators.

Written by: Kimberly Kovach, Media Coordinator
Posted: Dec 20, 2013 by Kimberly Kovach

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