Santa comes early to Wamsley Elementary
Alejandro Diaz Gil has definitive proof that Santa Claus is real.
Oh, the Wamsley Elementary third-grader believed before, but what happened on the last day of school brought absolute proof.
Santa Claus paid a visit to Alejandro at school, but more importantly, Alejandro heard Santa. . . and his mother . . .and people whisper to him from across the room. He heard it all. Something many people take for granted, but just moments before, Alejandro would not have heard it.
Santa Claus, with the help of some Wamsley Elementary elves, brought Alejandro the gift of hearing - a sense that he has been struggling with since severe ear infections began to impair his hearing.
Alejandro came to Wamsley Elementary as a first grader, and recently the teachers and staff knew that he had needs that weren’t being met. Through a series of assessments, and the process of getting him to see an audiologist, Alejandro was identified as having a hearing impairment. He is very susceptible to ear infections and over time, that made his hearing impairment worse.
“He’s had many ear infections throughout his life, and because of his infections he has two perforated ear drums,” explained Wamsley Elementary Special Education teacher Lisa Johnson. “Until those are resolved, he’s not eligible for hearing aids. That could be a little while. He will eventually get hearing aids.”
The Colorado River BOCES Audiologist, Jennifer Schryer was able to acquire an amplification device that works wirelessly for Alejandro so that he can hear his teacher and be more successful in school. The teacher wears a microphone around his/her neck and Alejandro hears the teacher through headphones that he wears in class.
At the end of the day, he returns the amplification device to the school. He cannot take the device home.
“The first day he had the headphones, he returned them and said, ‘This is awesome. I want this for Christmas’,” explained Wamsley Health Clerk Tiffany Arnold.
That was all it took. A call went out to the Wamsley Wildcat elves and the big guy, Santa, himself - there was a student that wanted to hear for Christmas. On the last day of school before winter break, Alejandro received a special visitor in a bright red suit. His belly shook when he let out his hearty HO HO HO laugh (he bore a striking resemblance to Re-2 Superintendent Brent Curtice) and he brought Alejandro a special gift.
Alejandro unwrapped the red wrapping paper on the small rectangular box
“He brought me presents,” Alejandro said with a wide smile of his special visitor. “He gave me this and it helps me hear.”
Alejandro received his own amplification device for home.
His mother, Lucila, was holding back tears.
“They are tears because I am sad because I know that he is not able to hear as he should, and I am happy because he is happy and he received this gift that will help him hear at home,” she explained through a translator.
“I liked seeing Santa. He brought me this and I feel good,” smiled Alejandro. “I felt a little bit sad when I couldn’t hear. It was hard before when I couldn’t hear. Before, I couldn’t hear the TV. I could hear my friends because they would scream at me. The best part is that I will be able to hear things far away and close.”
As Santa Claus left Wamsley Elementary to care for his upcoming rounds, Alejandro had a final reflection on the afternoon’s activities.
“Santa’s a pretty cool guy.”
And his Wamsley Wildcat elves are pretty cool too!