By Collin Anderson

Lights! Camera! Christmas! No, those weren’t just the commands of a yuletide director; they were the name of Panaca Elementary’s Christmas play. Ever wondered how different Christmas could be if directed and acted by big-time Hollywood talent? The crowd watched as the greatest names in cinema vied for control over the story of the world’s fastest toy delivery man, diving into different well-known genres, from noir to spaghetti westerns. We laughed as Blitzen, one of Santa’s dutiful reindeer, took on the part of the dastardly villain. And we were offered an inside look at Santa’s busy work life as he tried to get everything ready for the big night. With this many directors, what could possibly go wrong?

As part of a much-loved yearly tradition, Panaca Elementary has strived to provide the community with a fun and entertaining way to ring in the holiday season, and this year was no different. After poking fun at the hustle and bustle of Hollywood and its way of driving things to extremes, the crowd was quietly brought back to where it all began: a small humble stable in Bethlehem. While our fun-loving sixth graders made us roar with laughter, our fifth-grade students used the often-recited but far too often ignored message of the nativity to remind us of the real reason for the season.

The talent for this wonderful play included our own sixth-grade teacher, Gretchen Soderborg as director, with the choreography provided by the combined efforts of Natalie Hooge, Lacy Neighbor, Sadie Soderborg, and Hailey Hooge. The lights and sounds were expertly coordinated by Andy Robinson, and the music was provided by the talented Jackie Thomas. Of course, this play could not have happened without the efforts of Panaca Elementary’s principal, Pete Peterson, and his entire staff, as well as our own wonderful community.