COLUMBIA — It's a normal day when the cafeteria and commons are bustling with noise and excitement at Rock Bridge High School, but this day was far from the usual. High school seniors were transformed into elves, and the children in the halls were waiting for Santa Claus instead of sixth period.
The senior class at Rock Bridge High School invited young children to its annual Breakfast with Santa fundraiser Saturday. The money raised by the event, about $1,800, helps finance end-of-the-year activities, such as the senior picnic and banquet.
Children, ranging in age from 1 to about 8 years old, decorated Christmas tree ornaments, made reindeer food, listened to a story-teller and had their faces painted. They received sacks with a coloring book inside from State Farm Insurance, a Rock Bridge Partner in Education.
Children also told Santa their Christmas wishes and received a small gift from him. The gifts were donated by members of the senior class and wrapped by volunteers from various Rock Bridge clubs.
"There's nothing like seeing kids' faces light up when they see Santa," said Rock Bridge senior Caroline Couper. "It's something everyone looks forward to, but it's just for the seniors."
Planning for the event started in early October with senior class officers and parent volunteers. They organized four committees to set up food, entertainment, decorations and advertisements. They printed 10,000 fliers that were distributed at elementary schools, preschools, day care facilities and in the mail.
"The senior parents play a big part in making this day successful," said David Bones, student activities director.
This is the 16th consecutive year that the school has hosted the event, although the tradition started several years earlier. Attendance was record-setting, with more than 450 people.
Breakfast with Santa was followed by "The House at Pooh's Corner," a play put on by the Children's Theater class and directed by Terry Overfelt, who teaches the class every year. Profits supported the Adopt a Child program for the holidays; this year, the Children's Theater class has adopted three children to provide gifts for.