The Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy Hasty Singers traveled around Cherokee County Tuesday, singing and dancing to their very own Christmas music, but their last stop at the Cherokee County Regional Airport was one to remember.
As the Hasty Singers were being introduced to family, friends and Airport Authority members, a special call was made to the airport’s radio, and an unknown helicopter was going to make a surprise landing.
As the children ran to the window to see who the special guest was, none other than the red-coated Santa Claus stepped out of the helicopter and brought joy to all the Hasty Singers’ faces.
“To see the reaction of the children when Santa flew in made it all worth it,” Airport Terminal manager and event coordinator Keena Pope said, adding that the children were so thrilled and excited.
“The Hasty Singers did an outstanding job of bringing Christmas spirit to the airport. They were so excited to be here and you could tell they enjoyed performing,” she said. “One of the things I noticed was the students were from all ethnicities, and it did not make a difference to them at all. They sang and danced as one group as it should be, that we are truly one in America.”
The Hasty Singers performed for the crowd, singing and dancing to about 10 Christmas carols, followed by a special lighting of the 15-foot airport Christmas tree by Norman Sosebee, for whom the airport was named.
“I thought I would have to wait until I got to heaven before I heard angels sing, but I just heard them here today,” Sosebee said as he lit the Christmas tree.
The Hasty Singers hung ornaments that they created at school to decorate the tree, with the help of Cherokee County firefighters.
Before the Hasty Singers said their final goodbyes, they sat on Santa’s lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas.
Pope has been putting together Christmas events such as the one on Tuesday since 2012, she said.
“All the events are special because it involves students in Cherokee County, and introduces them to the local airport environment,” she said. “It helps different aspects of the community of the airport, including the Fire Department, Regions Bank and Enterprise just to name a few businesses who donate their time and/or money. It helps us give back to the community.”
Pope said that during such a busy time of the year, it’s always nice to stop a few minutes and see Christmas through the eyes of a child.
In 2012, Pope reached out to Ball Ground Elementary to see if they would like to come decorate the airport Christmas tree, which was 6 feet tall at the time.
“When Ball Ground Elementary called back, they said the students in the choral group are the ones coming, and there are 40 of them. Well I needed a bigger tree,” she said. “When Industrial Repairs found out how many students were coming to decorate the 6-foot tree, they bought a 15-foot Christmas tree and donated it to the airport.”
Pope said the students sang Christmas carols, decorated the tree and were so thrilled to come to the airport just to see the airplanes on the ramp, and to see the look on their faces made it worth it.
“So every year, I invite a different school in Cherokee County. Last year was Sixes Road Charter School Star-base students. They are an academic club that focuses on aerospace engineering,” she said. “They made ornaments and hung them on the tree and read poems they wrote about the airport.”
Pope said Christmas gives airport members time to reflect on the many blessing they have, to appreciate new friends and customers, how lucky residents are to live in America and have the freedom to celebrate the Christmas season.
“Thanks to our servicemen, women and their families for their sacrifices they make,” she said.