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Deaf, hearing-impared students from Hillside Elementary visit with signing Santa

(BASSETT PLACE – Dec. 9, 2022) – Hillside Elementary’s deaf and hearing-impaired students visited Bassett Place on Friday to see a special signing Santa and give him their wish list.

More than 30 Hillside students in the Regional Day School for the Deaf program participated in the holiday tradition. The children took photos with Santa who chatted with them in ASL.

“Everybody wants to be talked to in their language and Santa is for everybody, so if it’s Spanish, tenemos que hablar en español. Or if it’s sign language, we sign,” said Santa Christopher Wagner.

Wagner enjoys the annual event and even started growing his beard in October to look like a legit Santa. Some students recognized Wagner, who teaches the first-grade oral program at Hillside.

“The best part of today is being with the kids and having them be happy,” he said.

Students ran up to Santa, giving him a big hug and ear-to-ear smiles. They mugged for the cameras signing, ‘I love you.’

“So exciting,” Aiden said, through an interpreter. “I asked for a dinosaur and Star Wars toys.”