Santa and Mrs. Claus Pay Visit to Local Guam School

by Alana Chargualaf
Joint Region Marianas

ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Anxiously awaiting a holiday surprise, hundreds of bright-eyed students enlivened with excitement as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus arrived at Liguan Elementary School in Dededo Dec. 21.

Filling Santa’s iconic red and white suit was Island Success Through Learning Association Inc. President Len Stohr, while Joint Region Marianas commander, Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, took on the character of Mrs. Claus. Both were all smiles as they exchanged greetings with the crowds of students and handed out school-friendly holiday treats for all to enjoy.

Alongside the students’ reactions, it’s the satisfaction of providing for their education that makes the effort so worthwhile for the organization’s members.

“This is the most fun that you could possibly have; when you see the kids’ faces,” Stohr said. “I know they’re looking for toys, but school supplies are important. This is to help them get through the second half of the year.”

ISLA, a nonprofit organization, partners with local businesses and has been giving gifts to students around the island for more than a decade.

“I would really like to thank the men and women at the Region,” he said. “They don’t know it, but some of their donations for the Combined Federal Campaign do come to us. This is one of the things it goes to. It’s for the community.”

Liguan Elementary School Acting Principal Johansen Punongbayan found the gesture endearing and expressed gratitude for the experience.

“It truly means a lot when we see them (the students) smiling and receiving things. Christmas is all about giving and loving and caring, and sharing these kinds of moments with each other,” Punongbayan said. “We’re very grateful that we had that opportunity to be part of it.”

Nalia Quinata, a fourth grade Liguan Elementary School student, enjoyed the event with her classmates, and extended her thanks for the generous gifts.

“It was very exciting and I’m really thankful for what we get,” Quinata said. “This was a really nice experience to get together with our friends and just have a nice time. It really means a lot to them.”

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For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.

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