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West Elementary celebrates wonderful Christmastime

Russellville’s West Elementary performed a Christmas program in the RCS auditorium, and students enjoyed a number of other activities to celebrate the season, as well.

The Christmas program was held Dec. 16.

“I’m very proud of all the hard work our teachers and students put into making this program come together,” said West Elementary Principal Ann Scott. “They all did a terrific job.”

“It was a seamless program,” commented retired RHS English teacher, Donna Keeton, whose granddaughter, Kennadie Keeton, played Cinderella. “Emily Rush and all the teachers and students did a wonderful job. It was very special.”

“This was my first year to direct the second-grade program,” said Emily Rush, who formerly taught music for sixth-graders through seniors. “The program itself has become a tradition that previously was put together and directed by the second-grade teachers at West. Since we now have a music teacher at both elementary schools, I had the honor to take this tradition on this year, and it was an absolute joy.”

Rush explained that while she directed, the second-grade teachers still played a major role in preparing the 188 second-graders by assisting them with practice, communicating with parents and practicing songs during classes.

“It is an amazing team effort and absolutely magical in how it all came together,” Rush said. She said it’s about more than just the end result of the performance. “We saw shy kids come out of their shells, and kids who already loved to perform got the chance to shine.”

The school also held a number of other Christmas events over the course of a special week. Among the many activities were visits from Santa, an elf, the Polar Express train and conductor and even the Grinch.

“The elf and conductor from the Christmas Spectacular came and punched golden tickets, and the kids got to ride on the train,” said Scott. “We gave out bells, and some teachers served hot chocolate in the cafeteria.”

A number of other “elves” took up residence at the school, in the style of the popular Elf on the Shelf, and then received a very special party and sendoff courtesy of the West Elementary cafeteria staff. Scott said elves Sparkle, Bama and Superelf roamed the school for a week or two, and several classrooms also had their own elves.

Before heading back to the North Pole, all the elves got together in the cafeteria and had a night-long party, including a snowball fight with marshmallows. Some elves flew down a tightrope, and others were in Santa’s sleigh, riding through the air. Others were at tables with drinks, and one was painting Christmas trees.

“I love the creativity our CNP employees showed in helping the elves celebrate before leaving for a year,” said RCS Superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes. “They always help our students have fun and make them smile.”

CNP director Elaine Vaughn said it was a wonderful sendoff. “The students’ faces lit up when they came to school that morning.”

“It was a truly wonderful week,” said West Elementary Assistant Principal Alicia Stanford. “It was absolutely heart-warming to see the magic of Christmas through the eyes of all our students. We are so thankful to everyone who made this week possible. Our students loved all of our special visitors and made a lot of fun memories.”