More than 100 students from across the state are hoping their holiday wishes come true after meeting with Santa. Today's occasion brought children who are hearing impaired to Pearlridge Shopping Center for the 25th Annual Deaf Santa Program.
This year was extra special for six students who traveled from Kea'au Elementary.
"This is an opportunity for the students to come and be with peers who have similar backgrounds and situations," said Kea'au Elementary Principal Ron Jarvis. "We come from an area of the island with high poverty rates and some of the students don't have the opportunity to travel, so they were excited from the moment we got to the airport."
Other schools participating in the event included Waimalu Elementary, Pōmaika'i Elementary, Lehua Elementary and the Hawai'i School for the Deaf and the Blind. Students were treated to train rides on the Pearlridge Express, a meet and greet with Santa as well as live entertainment featuring the students.
The program was created for students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade that are deaf, deaf and blind or hard-of-hearing. The Deaf Santa program is made possible through the support of ASL, Deaf Education & Interpreter Education at Kapiolani Community College; Hawai'i State Department of Education's Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support Exceptional Needs Branch; Pearlridge Center; Cookie Corner; Pizza Hut; Razor Concepts; Sprint Relay Hawaii; Expressions Photography; Ground Transport; and Roberts Hawaii.