Signing Santa brought holiday cheer to about 250 deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Miami-Dade public schools who came out to see him at the Dolphin Mall Thursday.
High school student Miguel Gonzales has been going on the field trip since elementary school.
“The kids really, really appreciate it,” he said in sign language. “You cannot believe how absolutely amazing it is, they get to meet Santa Claus who is deaf, and they actually get to experience that.”
It’s a special opportunity to communicate with jolly old Saint Nick in a way that many of these young kids never thought they could.
“To tell you the truth, when they see Santa, when you see their face and you see it light up, it just warms your heart,” Gonzalez said. “I mean they all come up and they can tell Santa what they want. They’re so thrilled!”
Along with the excitement of meeting Signing Santa, the kids enjoyed holiday music and stories, and played in artificial snow.
They also experienced the new technology of sign language interpretation on screen, as they watched “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”
“Oh my God, it’s more accessible and easier to understand for deaf” people, Gonzalez said. “We understand the sign language, it’s our native language, so we actually are able to understand the movie so much more than that.”