N.B. Mills Elementary School students got a surprise visit from Santa Claus and his elves on Wednesday morning.

It was all part of a planned holiday event by Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education member Abby Trent and her mom Angela Matthews.

Trent said that she wanted to share the joys of the holidays with the children in her school district.

“Christmas time is my favorite time of the year. I was excited as a kid and my mom would always take my brother and I to see Santa Claus,” she explained. “I know not all children have the opportunity to experience this excitement and I wanted to bring Santa to N.B. Mills.”

Every student got to see Santa and received a gift and a candy cane.

Karen Kidd, Foundation of Hope Ministries founder, and volunteers with her nonprofit, along with community members, Statesville police officers and Iredell County Sheriff’s Office deputies were all there to support the students and spread holiday cheer.

Children in some of the classrooms got the chance to pet Groot, the dog who works for the Sheriff’s Office. Volunteers sang holiday songs with the children and helped Santa hand out gifts.

Third-grade students, all grinning from ear to ear, were bouncing with excitement as soon as Santa entered teacher Melissa Gill’s classroom.

“The surprise of not knowing (Santa was coming) put me in the Christmas spirit. I loved seeing my students’ reactions when they saw Santa,” Gill said.

The students in her classroom are a close-knit group of kids. They swarmed Santa and all of the volunteers with hugs.

“I like Santa. He gives us cool presents,” said Kaleb Peck.

“I liked being able to hug Santa,” added Alanna Richardson.

Ruth Joseph and Frankie Bell said singing “Jingle Bells” made them feel happy.

“This was so cool. I liked all the costumes and that everyone was nice,” Ruth said.


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