By Kelly Werthmann
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially at Chatfield Senior High in Jefferson County. Students transformed the school into Santa’s Workshop on Friday to bring the joy of the holidays to a very special group of kids. A tradition the school has kept going for the last 24 years.
“It’s like you’re at the North Pole,” senior Sophia Miller said.
Large snowflakes hung from the ceilings, twinkling lights lined hallways and Christmas trees, even the Grinch found room in his heart to celebrate. Miller and her classmates spared no detail to give first graders from Molholm Elementary the perfect holiday party.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” she said. “This is my fourth year doing it and it’s just something I look forward to.”
Big kids buddy up with little kids, taking them to play holiday games, enjoy hot chocolate, make colorful crafts and more.
“I painted a tree and my friend painted a star,” 6-year-old Flor de Maria Delgado Morales said.
Perhaps the best part of all – jolly ol’ Saint Nick stopped by and kids got to sit on his lap to share their Christmas wish lists.
“I tell Santa to give me a teddy bear,” Morales told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
If it were not for the Chatfield community, many of the first graders would not be celebrating the season at all.
Ninety percent of the students at Molholm Elementary are on free or reduced lunch.
“Just 20 minutes from where we are it’s very different economically. So, we’re able to give them just a night of fun. I mean, some of these kids, this might be the only Christmas they have,” Miller explained.
That is precisely why Chatfield goes above and beyond to make the holiday gathering extra special. Students and staff pitch in to make sure every kid gets to pick a present from underneath a tree, and go home with a new pair of gloves, warm hat and scarf.
“I feel as if I’ve grown up in a very privileged life and it’s so rewarding to be able to give back in such a simple way,” Miller said.
Miller’s hope is more schools in Colorado will come together to help other kids in need.
“We’re one school helping one elementary school,” she said. “There are a lot more kids out there that also need an event like this.”
The spirit of the holiday season doesn’t end Friday night for Chatfield High School. Students will fill more than 200 stockings next week to give to Fort Carson soldiers who are deployed this Christmas.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.