They were like Santa's elves, the kindergarten and fifth grade classes of Patriot Elementary School. And not only did the act like elves, they also acted like Santa himself and his reindeer - delivering stuffed animals to sick children via school bus, to place them under a tree.
Monday the students were busy in their "classroom workshop" making over 100 stuffed animals to take to Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. Then they delivered them via school bus on Tuesday.
"Our principal, Mr. Burgess, knew there was a parent that worked at Build-A- Bear, and contacted her," said kindergarten teacher Patricia Brooks. "Our main goal is to make sure that our students become citizens of the world, and learn giving back on a large scale."
Five-year-old Lucas Spinella echoed the excitement of the classes at Patriot Elementary in making over 100 stuffed animals for local children in the hospital.
Principal Dave Burgess talked to parent Amy Heyna, who also helped with the holiday activity.
"She arranged to come to our school on her day off, with all of these bears that were pre-stuffed. The students then hand-stuffed them, finished them with decorations and bows, including a stuffed heart inside. Inside we also we asked to put in our love and happy thoughts," Brooks said.
All fifth graders then acted like elves, helping the younger students with the project.
Concerning her kindergarten class, she said, "They've been very excited for weeks about this. Now they are excited to see the culmination of the project. The reason we are actually going to the hospital is to make it more concrete for them, for them to see and understand where the gifts are going."
Burgess donned his Santa hat to accompany the more than 100 kindergarten students to deliver their Christmas cheer via school buses.
"The whole concept is to create a school campus of caring, responsible citizens, of Cape Coral and the world," he said. "Think about the concept, children making gifts to give away, in a society that is often me, me, me; in the school we are we, we, we. I'm honored to be part of it."
The kindergarten team includes Brooks, Lisa Pickering, Stacy Gutierrez, Christina Thielman and Tammy Thurman.
Fifth grade teachers include Michelina Edwards, Christy Moore, Michael Padula, Sarah Ryan and Orlando Herrera.
Kindergartner Quinn Morris boarded the bus with over 100 other Patriot students to deliver stuffed animals to a local children's hospital.
"I'm very excited," he said.
His mother, Amy Morris, was one of the chaperones.
"I think this is fantastic, a great way for children to give back and to get involved helping other children," she said.
Five-year old Lucas Spinella echoed the excitement of the kindergarten classes. "I'm really excited. It makes me feel happy," he said.