Students and staff love watching the trains run at Cold Lake Elementary School. SUBMITTED

Kathy McKale, Principal, Cold Lake Elementary School

My husband Homer McKale is at it again—creating new train displays to spread cheer to everyone once again at Christmas time!  

Last year, he designed the Holiday Express train display table for all of the students, staff and parents at Cold Lake Elementary School. This year I nudged him again and asked for a Disney train table, because everyone needs a little extra love and support due to Covid-19 and all the changes at school.

Homer happily obliged and within a month, the Disney train table was created and delivered to the school on Saturday, Nov. 28. The students and staff were ecstatic to see both the Disney and Holiday Express train display tables on Monday morning.  

The students were in awe as they watched the Disney train moving down the track, listened to the music that was playing, saw the dancers dancing, heard the drummers drumming, gazed at the Ferris wheel turning, glanced at the Christmas tree spinning, looked at the balloon ride twirling, happily watched the children spinning on the carousel—the  goes on and on.  Such excitement, happiness, smiles and laughter for all!  

Homer said, «I will keep doing this if I can bring a smile to one child›s face!» 

Of course, I wanted to continue with Northern Lights Public Schools and Cold Lake Elementary School goals of increasing student mental health and wellness and increasing math skills. The trains and the display tables are indeed therapeutic, and staff and students spend time in their cohort groups watching the trains many times throughout the day. 

Like last year, the teachers are asking their students to do math skill building (how many train cars do you see, how many houses are there, how many Santas do you see, how many dogs are in the Doggie Parade, how many Disney characters to you see chatting with people, how many children do you see, how many windows on the houses do you see, how any people are skiing and skating, etc.). Their students are enthusiastically participating and eagerly responding. 

 Lots of discussions are taking place in front of the train display tables and lots of story and journal writing is going on in the classrooms. Students are motivated and excited to draw pictures and imagine what it is like to ride the Disney and Holiday Express trains.   

The students and staff are very grateful that we decided to do this again and students have written thank you letters and cards and have drawn beautiful pictures for them.

We are thrilled that everyone is enjoying the train displays, and we feel blessed to be able to give a special «gift» to the students, staff and parents of Cold Lake Elementary School this Christmas. We both love children and we want everyone to feel special and loved as Christmas is indeed a time for sharing and caring.  

Merry Christmas, everyone!  We love you lots!

Working on the railroad: Homer McKale gets the rolling stock on the rails at Cold Lake Elementary School. SUBMITTED