A group of unusual elves heralded the arrival of a special guest at Sandia Elementary over the holidays. It all began with a ride through the halls of Sandia by Rocky Martin and his band of unlikely elves. Mounted on motorcycles — and not just motorcycles, Harley-Davidsons — the “bikers” toured through the school, alerting classes to the impending arrival of the special guest, leaving a wake of cheers from students ringing throughout the school.
An annual event held for the last six years or so, this occasion has become a well-established tradition, spearheaded by Martin and his “elves.” Sandia students eagerly anticipated the arrival of the motorcycles, which then escorted in the special guest, fully clad in his famous red garb from top to toe.
This year once again, after the dramatic ride through the school alerting classes that Santa was coming, Martin and his elves had more up their sleeves. When the full entourage arrived in Sandia’s gym, without a doubt, the cheers and roars of a gym-full of Sandia students far surpassed the sound of the motorcycles.
In preparation for this event, students at Sandia had spent weeks before collecting presents for children less fortunate. As Mike Read, principal at Sandia, stated in his opening remarks, “This season is about the joy of giving.” Read went on to speak to the Sandia Students inspiringly with words of encouragement and pride in their accomplishments. Sandia’s atmosphere was filled with that wonderful contagious feeling generous and giving hearts provide.
The kids were also excited because, in addition to their worthy cause of collecting Christmas presents for less fortunate kids, the Harley elves held a giveaway of brand new bicycles in a variety of sizes for Sandia students across grade levels. Later asking Martin who had donated the generous gifts, Martin declined to reveal the source, but there was a decided twinkly glint in his eye.
Excitement mounted as the time drew near for the drawing of the each of the names of Sandia students who would win a bicycle. There is no describing the faces of several hundred students as they watched every movement of Martin, his elves, and Santa, waiting in eager anticipation for the randomly selected names to be called. Predictably, as each name was called and that student made their way down to the floor to receive their new bicycle, the Sandia crowd of students generously and enthusiastically cheered for the winner. It was great to see those several hundred shining little faces, caught up in the excitement.
At the end of the event, I learned that one of the little girls who’d won a bicycle — a very young student — confided softly to Martin that she had never ridden a bicycle, and she was “a little nervous” — her words. Somehow, a set of training wheels later made its way into her possession.
The excitement and anticipation of these children was a wonderfully contagious reminder of the importance of embracing life with joy in the moment and throughout this New Year.
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at