SHELBEY FADLEY, left, and Makayla Chamberlin respond to letters for Santa at Millstream Career Center (above) that were sent to the North Pole by way of this mailbox outside Trends! on Main (below). Students in Jackie Gleason’s teaching professions class at Millstream were tasked with responding to every child who sent requests to the jolly old elf. (Photo by Brenna Griteman)

By BRENNA GRITEMAN

LIFE EDITOR

Santa got some last-minute help from a classroom of elves last week who took on the monumental task of responding to local children’s handwritten season’s greetings.

Sent to the North Pole by way of a red metal mailbox outside Trends! on Main, the letters were then delivered to Millstream Career Center with instructions from Father Christmas himself: Respond to every child who included a self-addressed stamped envelope.

That’s where the students in Jackie Gleason’s teaching professions class came in.

Armed with green stationary embellished with teddy bears and festive stockings, the juniors and seniors carefully drafted response letters to the children’s requests.

“I checked the list and you’ve definitely been good this year,” began Rhyannon Sparks’ response to Kamryn, who indicated in her letter that she thought she had been good this year.

“After seeing that,” the letter to Kamryn continued, “I am so excited to bring you a few things. I hope you like your gifts.”

In another letter, writer Abanna very honestly states that “I know I have not been the nicest, but to make it up to you I have tried to be nice to my siblings yesterday and today.” In the event that she indeed made the “nice list,” Abanna goes on to list the items on her wish list, including a lip gloss lab, chemistry kit, a drone, a walkie-talkies set and a baking set. “Though I really don’t want clothes for Christmas,” she closes the letter, a fact reinforced with a picture of a shirt enclosed in a circle with an X through it.

“I’m going to say that she made up for it,” laughed Brianna Searls as she drafted her correspondence to the young author.

The earnest letters landed in the hands of the Millstream students through director Pam Hamlin, who also owns Trends! on Main. She has maintained the letters to Santa mailbox outside the boutique for about five years, and she says it typically draws about 40-60 letters.

The box is in place from Thanksgiving to the week before Christmas, and Hamlin says she’s always surprised at how many letters come in from children outside of Findlay.

Three years ago, she began tasking the teaching professions students with writing back. She advises them against using cursive writing and assures the same person responds to siblings and family members, so Santa’s handwriting matches up.

Looking over a pair of letters written by friends Elli and Jewell, Millstream student Ezra Larsen remarked, “We gotta word this just the right way.”

The girls had ambitiously asked Santa for everything from $100 cash and a $100 Amazon gift card to hair dye and makeup, colored contacts, art supplies, high-top Vans and a new skateboard.

Meanwhile, Kaitlynn Dement was drafting a response to Molly, who had very festively typed out her letter in alternating red and green ink.

“Rudolph is resting and getting ready for the big night,” Kaitlynn’s letter assured Molly, who had requested a blue electric scooter, white Converse sneakers and a yellow Hula-Hoop.

Another letter, written by Claire, asked for a Paw Patrol toy and inquired as to whether Santa likes building snowmen at the North Pole.

In drafting her response, Makayla Chamberlin indicated that yes, Santa loves to build snowmen in his down time.

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