Santa and American Legion Riders bring Christmas spirit to Community School

DOVER — Santa Claus has built up quite a reputation for delivering presents in his sleigh with the help of flying reindeer.

And he has also been known to ride atop fire trucks and on floats during parades.

However, on Tuesday morning Santa Claus got some help from his two-wheeled friends from Dover’s Walter L. Fox Post 2 American Legion Riders as he followed a motorcade of eight motorcycles to the Kent County Community School to spread Christmas cheer.

Santa Claus, also known as Bill White, arrived to a pack of adoring children and asked them, “Has everybody been good this year?” while jingling his sleigh bells.

He then talked to the students, making sure he listened intently to all of their wishes, and took pictures with them before they left the big guy in red’s lap with a candy cane.

Santa Claus, Bill White, arrives by motorcycle with the American Legion Riders to Kent County Community School in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“All of these kids have been good and this is beautiful to be able to come to the school to see all the kids and all of the teachers,” Mr. Claus (White) said. “God bless all the good things they’re doing here.”

The Kent County Community School serves students from ages three to 21 that have a variety of disabilities.

The school, along with the Capitol Delaware Autism Program, uses the cooperation of parents, students, school staff and community stakeholders to enhance the students’ opportunities and increase their level of independence and personal confidence in preparing them for their life transitions.

Santa Claus, Bill White, greets Kent County Community School students after arriving by motorcycle with the American Legion Riders in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The students were definitely excited to see Santa Claus as his bright red sleigh pulled up in front of the Kent County Community School with the help of a motorcycle.

“I like seeing Santa,” said Kiera Tate, a fifth-grader. “I want a black-and-pink bike.”

Sixth-grader Jaiden Gyambibi said, “I like Santa Claus because he brings us presents. I hope he brings me some Hot Wheels.”

While the kids were thrilled to see Santa just five days before his biggest night of the year — Christmas Eve — members of the Walter L. Fox Post 2 American Legion Riders were just has excited to see them, as well.

“It’s awesome, I can’t explain it,” said Chuck Parisan, who organized the event. “We enjoy doing it. I get chills up and down my spine and it’s not because it’s cold. It’s just great to see the kids all come together and surround (Santa Claus) like this. It’s just awesome.”

The Legion Riders Chapter has been bringing Santa and his sleigh to visit the children at the Kent County Community School for 11 years.

The event was originally arranged by Nick and Gail Sellazzo, who have since retired from the school. Both are charter members of the American Legion Riders.

“Somebody just told us about the school and how things worked and everything and we thought it would be a great idea to bring smiles to their faces,” Mr. Parisan said. “You can definitely see that they enjoy it.”

Stephen ‘Skip’ Shappee, commander of Walter L. Fox Post 2 and also a Legion Rider, couldn’t help but feel warm inside on Tuesday morning, even though the temperature was just 27 degrees outside.

“It’s really great because the kids really love it and it makes us feel good, to be honest with you,” he said. “Sometimes the kids are more interested in the motorcycles than Santa, so we try to get as many riders as possible to join us for this visit.

“It seems like it gets better every year. The kids really enjoy it and we do what we can to keep the kids happy.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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