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Santa visits Utah elementary school in helicopter

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Posted at 11:50 AM, Dec 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-23 14:24:26-05

KEARNS, Utah — Reindeer didn't power it, but it was a sight to see in the skies over Western Hills Elementary School in Kearns, where hundreds of kids got out of class to see Santa drop down in a helicopter.

"We've made a little ring around the field with cones and caution tape to keep the kids safe, and an 'x' marks the spot, then Santa is going to fly down, and he is going to drop down some gifts," said Western Hills Principal Wendy Lovell.

Santa's whole helicopter arrival was coordinated by local Joe Wren, who said he was touched by the kids at Western Hills Elementary when he first walked through the door.

"Really about two weeks ago, I was thinking of school kids and Christmas, and some of the troubles in the world, without getting too corny, and I thought to myself, 'Wouldn't it be fabulous to have Santa come down in a helicopter?'" Wren said.

The students were barely able to contain their excitement as they waited for Santa's arrival after lunch. Lovell said teachers used the opportunity of Santa's helicopter arrival to combine a little Christmas magic with real-world application.

"We talked about how helicopters were researched with birds and seeing how hummingbirds go back and forth, we talked about connecting this to a candy bomber and how this is a Santa bomber in a way," Lovell said.

Last year, Western Hills Elementary was in the bottom 5% of the state academically. This year, Lovell says they have received a 'B' rating from the Utah State Board of Education — an improvement worth celebrating.

"We just are really trying to learn at really high levels, and we're really excited about all the work everyone is doing," Lovell said.

As Santa finally made his appearance, he blew everyone away. Kids cheered Santa on as he threw gifts and candy from his helicopter sleigh.

"My goal and hope is this be a wonderful day for them and wonderful life and always remember this," Wren said.

Darienne DeBrule at KSTU first reported this story.