HAZLETON, Pa. -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Hazleton Area High School, with carolers and band members playing the holiday classics, and a tree decorated with handmade ornaments in the school's front lobby.
"This is the kick-off to the holiday season here in Hazleton. We have our special needs students who've worked really hard with our regular education students, and they've created some awesome ornaments," explained Shelly Melon, a learning support teacher at the school.
Those students got to display their work for the entire school to see hanging the ornaments on the tree before getting a visit from the man of the hour, Santa Claus.
While Thanksgiving hasn't even come around yet, there's already plenty of Christmas cheer here at Hazleton Area High School, and both teachers and students alike say this is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.
"It's good! And the tree is on...and hot chocolate and cookies!" said Lyndsey Seltzer.
For some students volunteering at today's event, it brought some much-needed joy as the holiday season begins.
"Just this experience, it made me see everyone is the same, and nobody is different, no matter what problems they have. And it just really made me cry," explained Kiara Pizarro, who dressed as the Lady Cougar for the event.
"They were so excited like when I was dancing with him I felt so happy...like I don't even know how to explain it. It brought a lot of joy to my heart and I usually... it doesn't. I'm going through a tough time right now and it really helped me put that joy in my heart."