De­catur Pre-K takes imag­i­nary trip to North Pole aboard the Po­lar Ex­press

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE ECKELS meck­[email protected]

DE­CATUR — Af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a real train ride on board the Arkansas and Mis­souri Christ­mas Ex­press train Dec. 18, stu­dents of De­catur Pre-K school took a jour­ney of a dif­fer­ent kind, an imag­i­nary trip to the North Pole, aboard the “Po­lar Ex­press” Dec. 20.

Mike Eckels, the train con­duc­tor from the Pre-K’s ear­lier ride, joined the four- and five-yearold stu­dents on their short jour­ney to seek out Santa Claus and his team of eight rein­deer.

Af­ter Eckels punched each stu­dent’s ticket, Joyce Tur­nage (Pre-K teacher), dressed in an old time train en­gi­neer’s over­alls, led the kids to their seats in her class­rooms.

“The Po­lar Ex­press” stars leg­endary ac­tor Tom Hanks in a mul­ti­tude of char­ac­ters in­clud­ing the train’s con­duc­tor, the fa­ther and Santa Claus. Since its re­lease on Nov. 10, 2004, the movie has be­come one of the most pop­u­lar Christ­mas­time films of the 21st cen­tury, gross­ing over $310.60 mil­lion in rev­enue.

This movie has be­come a tra­di­tion for the De­catur Pre-K stu­dents, as well as their coun­ter­parts in schools around the world.

As the movie started, the stu­dents, dressed in their pa­ja­mas (fol­low­ing the char­ac­ters in the film) sat down in front of the screen ready to be­gin their imag­i­nary jour­ney to the North Pole.

Af­ter the movie, the kids gath­ered to­gether for a photo which they left for Santa to pick up as he makes his rounds on Christ­mas Eve.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Stu­dents of De­catur Pre-K School gather to­gether in Joyce Tur­nage’s class­room to watch Tom Hanks’ “Po­lar Ex­press” Dec. 20 in De­catur. The group ex­pe­ri­enced a real train ride Dec. 18 aboard the A&M’s “Christ­mas Ex­press” roundtrip from Spring­dale to John­son.

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