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Local student with cochlear implants gets magical surprise from an elf

JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — Holiday magic sprung into the air for first grade student Ann Redmore.

She is one of many students at St. James School in Johnson City.

“Ann has a fun personality,” said Lynette Shear, Ann’s sign language interpreter. “She’s vibrant and out going. We do a lot of dancing, we do a lot of joking.”

Redmore is deaf and wears cochlear implants. This past weekend she had appointments regarding her implants, when she came back to school this week, she was greeted by a special visitor.

“Our classroom elf Skitter had brought a friend from the north pole named Holly, who got lost in our school and we found the elf Holly in her kindergarten teacher’s classroom,” said Olivia Dennison, Ann’s first grade teacher.

Holly the elf, has cochlear implants like Ann. Dennison says Ann was happy to see this.

“She was really, I guess surprised and just kind of in wonder, like wow she looks just like me, and then she was really proud and you could see it in her face like wow she looks just like me,” explained Dennison.

Dennison and Shear say it was emotional to see Ann’s reaction seeing Holly the elf.

“I started to cry just because it was really amazing to see that she felt included and she felt represented because that doesn’t always happen,” said Dennison.

“When she reacted the way she did we both got emotional,” added Shear. “We weren’t expecting that from her. She fell in love with her as soon as she saw her.”

Dennison says having this elf, like Ann, comes with an important message.

“By having Holly come to our school and visit our school and represent the deaf community with her implants and to be able to teach the children that representation matters,” said Dennison. “It’s important that everybody feels equal and included. I think that’s what Christmas is all about.”

Some of Ann’s classmates have also learned sign language to be able to communicate with her.

Esperanza Gutierrez

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