GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - It may be the most wonderful time of the year for students over at West Elementary in Gulfport. For the third year, second grade teacher Alexandra Waldrop has gone above and beyond with Christmas decorations down the entire main hallway of the school. This year, she said it is much more special than in previous years.
This school year is one for the books, with all students across the country going completely virtually at once due to the coronavirus, and Waldrop wanted to bring cheers to everyone during uncertain times.
“2020 has been a really hard year for everybody so to just have something to look forward to,” Waldrop said. “Our kids have been resilient having to switch from virtual back and forth or making adjustments, wearing masks, and doing all this hard work. So it’s been nice to be able to just do something where they can get their minds off all the things that are going on in the world right now.”
Waldrop decorates during Thanksgiving break, and it takes her a full week to completely decorate. The full hallway of decorations is quite a lot of work for just Waldrop herself, so on the week of decorating she had some other teachers help her that weekend.
“I’ve heard of a few other schools that have done something similar and I think it’s great for the kids,” Waldrop said.
Many of the decorations were donated from people in the community, and over the years Waldrop has been able to reuse a lot of them, mainly the blowups like the gingerbread man, Christmas trees, and the cool dabbing Santa Claus at the entrance of the library.
“I’ve spent a little of my money too but last year a lot of people donated. So we’ve been able to get a lot more, like the blowup, things we can reuse rather than just once a year,” she said.
Waldrop said all the kids are thrilled to return to school each day just to see the decorations, seeing that many may not have lots of decorations up at home.
“A lot of the younger kids are absolutely taken away with everything,” Waldrop said. “They think all the candy is real and they’re just obsessed with everything. So it makes it all worth it seeing their faces.”