RED OAK — A week before Christmas and all through the Red Oak High School agriculture shop were ROISD special education students and teachers, ROHS FFA members, elves and the big jolly man in the red suit himself, Santa Claus. ROHS FFA members, with the help of their agricultural science teacher, Jake Mullican, turned the ROHS ag shop into Santa’s workshop Monday, Dec. 12 to celebrate the holidays.

At the event, students painted and decorated toys made by ag students or “elves” in the shop, participated in Christmas crafts, decorated cookies, took photos with Santa Claus in front of an antique Red Oak Fire Department truck, hopped on a hayride, watched movies and enjoyed a petting zoo.

“This started off as just us wanting to do the Santa’s Workshop thing where we make the toys and have the students paint them, but it grew from there,” Red Oak senior and 2016-17 FFA President, Caitlin Edsall said. “We decided we wanted to have elves, helpers and stations for the students. Mullican approached me about it one one day and I agreed that we should do it.”

The day was split into three segments — with elementary students visiting in the morning, middle school and high school students in the afternoon, and teachers' families and children after school.

“The way we invited the students was great. We made a video with Mr. Mullican dressed as Santa and he was calling us saying that he needed help to make toys, so the students believe they are here to help him," Edsall explained. “It has gone way better than I expected and ran smoothly. All of the kids are having fun, and, while it wasn’t perfectly organized, it’s worked out well. The kids seem to be enjoying getting to see Santa, the elves and the animals.”

Mullican was enthusiastic about the turnout and shared his thankfulness for those who helped make the event possible.

“We would especially like to thank the students, faculty, and staff here at Red Oak ISD that were able to come out and participate in the event. We are truly humbled to be able to serve such an amazing community here in Red Oak ISD,” Mullican said.

He noted special thanks to many people, organizations and businesses including,

“Rachel Kistner, ROISD Director of Special Education and Assistant Director Sharon Graves for their donations and help in organizing the event for all of the schools involved. Ms. Karen Anderson, Executive Director of Education Foundation, for her support and donation of decorations. Ms. Donna Knight, Family and Student Services Coordinator for her support and donations, EwePet Petting Zoo for donating the petting zoo and The Party Guys in Forney, TX for donating the bounce house.”

Also included in the thanks were ROISD Executive Director of Support Services Mr. Brent Stanford, Director of Student Nutrition Services Ms. Victoria Ybarra, Executive Director of Communication Ms. Helen Williams and Communications and Marketing Specialist Ms. Haley Stewart, Fire Chief Eric Thompson and The Red Oak Fire Department and ACE Hardware of Red Oak.

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Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL

(469) 865-5488