By Mary Elizabeth Dial, Staff Correspondent
The annual Christmas Party for Exceptional Children was held on Friday, Dec. 9 at Gadsden Convention Hall. The party, which was hosted by the United Steel Workers of America AFL-CIO Local No. 12, brought students with special needs from all over the county, along with their teachers and caretakers, together to celebrate Christmas and have fun.
The Sardis Middle Singers choir, which sang Christmas songs under the direction of Shannon Waits, greeted partygoers at the door. Attendees met and took pictures with local school mascots and characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse while waiting for the party to start. There was also a special chair placed next to a Christmas tree, leading many students to wonder who would occupy it later.
Organizers and educators led the students in a few Christmas sing-alongs and introduce the Dazzlers and Intrepid Sound for their respective performances. Finally, the dancers and drummers came together to lead the partygoers in a “Santa Train” conga line around the convention space.
As the students sat down to lunch, one last guest arrived and solved the mystery of the special chair: Santa Claus himself! Mr. Claus mingled with the students as they ate lunch, posed for pictures with them and even listened to their Christmas wishes.
This year marked the 65th Annual Christmas Party for Exceptional Children. It is a tradition that the “Local 12” and the Etowah County Learning Center continues each December with pride.