The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 10, 2013

Some foreign GRA students have first meeting with Santa

Star Beacon

AUSTINBURG TOWNSHIP — The Grand River Academy family expressed Christmas cheer on Dec. 21, bringing Santa Claus to hand out some early gifts to some lucky boys and girls. The day started with a dinner for the student body and some local families that also came for the entertainment, although this only became an appetizer for the show to come. With a Jolly, “Ho-Ho-Ho,” good old St. Nick made his presence known to the attendants. He began to deliver gifts to all the good boys and girls.

The names rang off and the excitement was as clear as day. The sound of ripping paper roared through the hall, smiles filled faces and laughter boomed as teenagers began to take their pictures with Santa.

J.B. Stackhouse, a GRA student, said, “This was quite the event, I couldn’t believe how much fun could be had on a Thursday night. This was a great finale to the 2012 year at GRA.”

This was the common thought amongst the onlookers to this spectacle.

After receiving his present, Pedro Fernandes, a Brazilian student, said, “I was shocked to hear my name called. I couldn’t believe how much fun could be had with a bearded old guy.”

Fernandes was one of the many students demonstrating jubilance during the Christmas event. His observation was one a lot of the foreign students shared since their cultures do not necessarily include the teachings of Kris Kringle. A few of the Chinese students also felt their first vibes of how many Americans celebrate this holiday.

“It’s crazy to see how much more fun my classmates are during the Christmas season,” said Ming He. “I saw new personalities to many of them and it broadened my view of American culture.” He is a senior at Grand River but has been absent for the Christmas “shenanigans” that the Grand River family has been a part of.

Besides the usual Grand River Academy group, a couple of families stopped by to enjoy the event with them. Not only did the students enjoy the festivities that night, but also many took part in decorating trees for a local store, participating in the Austinburg Christmas parade and donating money, gifts and time to deserving families. It was a general agreement that this Christmas was one of the best for not only those receiving the holiday cheer via communal spirit, but also for the students and faculty as well. Though the holidays last only a short time, the fun and laughter will remain into the new year.