HOLT, Fla., Dec. 16, 2017—Holt Academy is into the holiday spirit this year.
In a three-hallway competition, teachers and staff transformed their hallways into a Christmas wonderland.
With music from the movie soundtrack The Polar Express wafting through the air, children and visitors alike find themselves surrounded by the magic of Christmas.
The Polar Express hallway, also known as The Holt Academy Express, was decorated by academy staff and features a ticket booth for the elf-sized Express train.
In Santa’s Workshop hallway, decorated by the babies, toddlers and two-year-old teachers, the North Pole with Santa Claus, reindeer and an army of elves is the main attraction.
The elves decorating the walls look coincidently like the children assigned to the classrooms.
At the end of the hallway is the reindeer barn with coat pegs outside for Santa’s 12 tiny reindeer, and Rudolph who is already hitched to Santa’s sleigh.
The Gingerbread Village across from Santa’s Workshop features gingerbread men, Christmas candy and a bakery, and is decorated with art by the 3- and 4-year olds and the voluntary prekindergarten children.
Lollipops, sugar plums, candy canes and, of course, gingerbread men, decorate the walls along with cupcakes and donuts around the bakery door.
There’s even a photo stand-in where children can have their picture taken as a gingerbread man.
Like the elves in Santa’s Workshop, the gingerbread men decorating the walls look a lot like the children assigned to this hallway.
Holt Academy children were represented in the artwork along the hallways, either in photos or by the crafts they provided.
Hallway judging was done by secret ballot by members of the Holt community early in the week.
The judges, who remain anonymous, had a hard time deciding a winner.
“I thought I knew which hallway I was going to vote for,” said one judge. “But then I went back and saw just how much work the children did and changed my mind.”
The children saw the transformation as it happened since some was done during breaks, lunch and naptimes, but they were still dazzled when they came in following some after-hour work, said Lori Miller, one of Holt Academy’s owners.
“Our favorite saying is ‘Don’t touch the walls,’” Miller said. “‘Look with your eyes, not with your hands.’”
At the end of the day, when all the ballots were tallied, the Gingerbread Village came out on top.
According to co-owner Jennifer Derrick, the Gingerbread Village teachers—Stephanie Newall, Hannah Lawson, Natasha Derrick, Missy Cook and Taylor Walden—had to sweat it out until the end of the week to find out that all their hard work had paid off.
For more photos of the decorated hallways, visit the Holt Academy Facebook page.