Students at Pelham's Linda Nolen Learning Center perform during the school's annual Christmas play on Dec. 18. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)
Students at Pelham's Linda Nolen Learning Center perform during the school's annual Christmas play on Dec. 18. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

LNLC students celebrate ‘Alabama Night before Christmas’

Published 1:36pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Students at Pelham’s Linda Nolen Learning Center called for help from Alabama state figures such as Gus Malzhan, Nick Saban and James Spann as they saw Santa Claus shooting across the skies in a Huntsville-built rocket on Dec. 18.

The students presented a twist on a traditional holiday tale during the school’s annual Christmas play in the LNLC auditorium.

“Our staff, our teachers and our children have put a lot of time and effort into making this a success,” said Michele Shepherd, the principal at the school for Shelby County students with significant special needs.

The play, which was inspired by E.J. Sullivan’s book “The Alabama Night Before Christmas,” featured every child at the school. A large student choir sang Christmas favorites such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” while students and their aides read their lines while taking part in the play’s six scenes.

The play featured several Alabama themes, as it made reference to sand dollar wind chimes purchased in Gulf Shores, sliding glass doors and Iron Bowl tailgate parties.

Santa Claus ditched his sleigh for a rocket built at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, and crashed into a Desoto Caverns birdhouse as he made a rough landing into someone’s yard.

After landing, Santa commandeered a John Deere tractor to deliver his presents to children.

“This really was a group effort. They put in many hours preparing for this,” said Kelly Godwin, the play’s director.

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