12/16/05 — Students can "instant message" Santa

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Students can "instant message" Santa

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on December 16, 2005 1:53 PM

Wayne County students can write a letter to Santa Claus this year, if they want to do so the old-fashioned way with pen and paper.

Or, they can just instant message him.

This will be the sixth year the school system has created the computer link. To date, the on-line service has brought in more than 57,000 messages from all ages.

The Web address, www.waynecountyschools.org, will allow parents to help children send messages to Santa from their home computer and tell him what they want for Christmas.

To communicate with Santa, click on the "Instant Message Santa" link and fill out an on-line form. Information is then sent directly to Santa's workshop in the North Pole, school officials said. A response from Santa will follow.

"Wayne County Public Schools knows with the holidays quickly approaching, Santa has a lot of work to do and can use a little extra help," instructional technology specialist Gene Jackson said. "We know it's not easy for today's toybuilder. Santa now has to make sure all toys meet federal safety guidelines. Santa also has to cope with the increased insurance costs for his elves and rising material costs for the billions of toys being built each year."

Jackson said he had talked with Claus earlier in the week and said the Jolly Old Elf appreciates the messaging system.

"He said it helps him keep better records of what gifts children in Eastern North Carolina want this holiday season," Jackson said. "It also helps him when he double checks his infamous 'Naughty & Nice' list."

The Web site tool is also a fun way to get parents involved, not only for holiday wish lists but as an educational tool.

"The site helps students learn how to use keyboards, a mouse, and even navigate the Internet," Jackson said. "And for those students who believe Santa will soon pay their home a visit, the Wayne County Public Schools' messaging service is a great opportunity for parents to let them tell Santa firsthand what they want to find under their tree."