Everyone was in the holiday spirit at a local special needs school.
On Tuesday, December 22, St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf held their annual Holiday Show, where students, as well as teachers, participated in holiday-related performances for parents, other students and other school faculty members.
The event, which was a collaborative effort between the school, the Bronx Rotary Club, and the Sons of Italy Uguaglianza Lodge #83, gave students at the school an opportunity to express themselves in a holiday-themed atmosphere in front of their families, friends and loved ones.
The holiday show included poetry, song and story-telling performances that were all performed in sign language by the students.
Various acts included ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Chanukah, Oh Chanukah’ and ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’.
The students in attendance, as well as the student performers, who were accompanied on stage by a Christmas elf, received a special holiday surprise following the show – Santa Claus – who was waiting backstage with wrapped presents.
After the performance, students and their families formed a line to receive gifts from and take pictures with Santa Claus.
Once they saw Santa Claus come out from behind the curtains, many of the students cheered, screamed and threw their hands up in excitement – ecstatic that they could share the experience with their Christmas idol.
“This is an event for the students as well as their families – and it’s an event that we cherish and treasure primarily because these children are so important to us,” said Lilyanna Pekic, membership chairwomen for the Bronx Rotary Club and the Sons of Italy, as well as the community liaison for Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj’s office, who was also involved in the funding and planning of the event.
“During this time of year, a time of giving, children with special needs are not given the attention that they need and deserve – and this event is a great way of giving back to these children that have such a big impact on so many lives and have overcome so many challenges,” she said.
“Seeing the looks on their (the student’s) faces during this show is a great feeling – and in reality, it’s a gift to me to see them so happy,” Pekic added.
One of the event’s funders, the Uguaglianza Bronx Lodge 83, who donated the toys with the Bronx Rotary Club, is the oldest Sons of Italy lodge in New York state, having been established in 1911.
St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf was established in 1869.