Santa brings early Christmas to some Rowan students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Holly Fesperman Lee

Salisbury Post

The Harold B. Jarrett American Legion Post hosted a Christmas Party on Tuesday for 42 area exceptional children.

This is the 28th year for the Christmas party. It started in 1978.

Students from Overton Elementary, Koontz Elementary, Southeast Middle and Erwin Middle schools enjoyed presents from Santa, lunch and a magic show from Burlington entertainer Ron Johnson.

Phyllis Richardson, women’s auxiliary children’s and youth chairman for the American Legion, said teachers ask students to make a list of the top three items they want for Christmas.

Richardson and other members then go shopping. “We take their first choice. If we can’t find that we go down to the second choice,” she said.

On Tuesday, Santa handed out presents and took more Christmas requests.

Richardson said one student asked for the book “The Polar Express.” Most of the little girls wanted dolls and others wanted basketballs, footballs, Power Rangers and radio-controlled cars.

Richardson said a hot dog lunch is always served, complete with potato salad, potato chips and ice cream.

Students also go away with a treat bag filled with fruit, nuts, candy, crayons, a coloring book and bubbles.

Each American Legion Post in North Carolina has a children’s program and a youth Program, but Richardson said not all are active.

Posts that are active in the program choose their own projects. Harold B. Jarrett has chosen the children’s Christmas party.

Richardson said the schools usually bring children by bus and sometimes parents come, but it’s mostly teachers and teacher assistants.

“They seem to have a really good time,” Richardson said.

Contact Holly Lee at 704-797-7683 or