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Holy Souls seniors, kindergartners share Christmas cheer

Letters from Santa top off special event for young and old at Little Rock parish

Published: December 25, 2019      
Dwain Hebda
Kindergartners at Our Lady of the Holy Souls School in Little Rock turn out in their Christmas finery to entertain the parish Seniors Group in what has become a much-anticipated parish tradition. In return, the kids got a surprise from their elder friends.

Christmas spirit filled the parish hall at Little Rock’s Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church Dec. 9 as the regular monthly meeting of the seniors group met for food, fellowship and most of all to enjoy a visit from the kindergarten classes from the adjoining preK-8th grade school, with whom they share a special bond. 

“Some of the kindergartners really don’t have that connection with grandparents,” said Pauline Jegley, president of the group and former longtime principal at the school. “I think it’s important that we stay connected to our youngsters. They’re the next generation. They like the older people and the older people certainly like the children.”

The tots performed a concert of Christmas songs, a tradition on the seniors group calendar. The smiles on the faces of the nearly 50 elders who were in attendance showed the magic of hearing children singing about the season was as potent as ever. 

“The kindergartners have always come over and put on a little program for the seniors,” Jegley said. “Normally we give them candy canes. This year they’re going to get their candy canes, but they’re also getting a little Holy Family wooden ornament that they can color and a candy cane and a little pamphlet that tells how the “J” is for Jesus and every time they see a candy cane they are to think of Jesus.”

“We want (the children) to celebrate Christmas and to know the meaning. Of course, Santa’s important, but we all know it’s Jesus’ birthday and they know that, too.”

Also new this year was how the seniors got in on the act in a very meaningful way. Jegley previously coordinated with the kindergarten teachers to have the children write letters to Santa Claus, then distributed those letters to St. Nick’s helpers in the seniors group who wrote a reply. The letters were given out following the Dec. 9 event, which also included a visit from Santa himself.

Jegley, who’s a grandmother to 21 and great-grandmother to 17, beamed right along with her peers at the sight and sound of the festively dressed kindergartners, each with a different Christmas-themed headdress. She said she was looking forward to other ways to connect the generations in the new year.

“Some of our seniors have volunteered to go read with the kindergartners,” she said. “I talked with one of the kindergarten teachers, and she said a lot of the children now don’t play cards or learn board games. That’s fallen away with this generation.”

“I was thinking that in the future we might be able to go over and teach them some board games as well as read to them. I think it’s real important to keep a connection to this next generation.”

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