LIMA — Santa dressed in his red suit, boots and carrying a wooden walking stick and The Grinch in a green suit with an evil grimace stole the show during a Christmas skit for students at Freedom Elementary School Friday.
Third graders and preschoolers at Freedom Elementary School were treated to a surprise skit with Lima Police Department officers.
Students were in their regular routine of eating in the school’s cafeteria when Santa entered the cafeteria door. When the students first saw Santa, their eyes got large and they started cheering, waving and laughing.
Jeff Jacomet, an LPD officer dressed as Santa, carried in gift bags and greeted the students with waves and a smile.
The Grinch, who wished to remain anonymous, entered the cafeteria and stole the presents out of Santa’s hands and ran as fast as he could through the cafeteria.
It did not take long for Brittney Wyerick and Eric Mericle, LPD Community Oriented Police officers, to arrest The Grinch in the school’s cafeteria.
Wyerick and Mericle entered the cafeteria and chased the Grinch while students cheered and Santa looked on in amazement.
Wyerick whipped out her bright silver handcuffs and handcuffed the Grinch who shook his head and fought to get loose.
Following the skit, Santa got his Christmas gifts returned and passed out candy canes to students who gave Santa a hug and high fives.
Brooklyn Mathews, third grader, sat at a table in the cafeteria with her lunch tray as she watched the skit with a smile on her face.
“I thought it was amazing that Santa took the time to come visit us. I liked the part where Santa came in with the gifts,” Mathews said. She said she wants a baby doll for Christmas and is looking forward to celebrating the holiday.
Seeing and interacting with the police officers sets a good example for the students, according to Meredith Kjelland, third grade teacher.
“This is a fun skit for the kids to experience especially the day before Christmas break,” Kjelland said. She said the school resource officer plans fun activities for the kids to participate in to keep them learning.
Wyerick came up with the idea after seeing the skit performed at another school on Facebook.
“We want the kids to have a fun event and see police officers in a good way where we are trying to help Santa deliver Christmas,” Wyerick said. She said she enjoys serving the school and helping the students see law enforcement in a different perspective.
Mericle said he hopes the kids enjoyed the interaction one on one with the officers.
“This gives the students an opportunity to see us in a different light. We are not always handcuffing and taking people to jail, but like to have fun,” Mericle said.
He said he tries to do what he can to keep the community safe as a law enforcement officer and said school resource officers are helpful in partnering with the the police department.
Amanda Leugers, Freedom Elementary School school resource officer, attended the skit with her narcotics K-9 Scarlet.
“Any time the officers can come in and interact with our students it is a good thing to have,” Leugers said. She said she hopes the students learned officers can interact with them in all kinds of situations.
Reach Jennifer Peryam 567-242-0362.