ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Deaf students in the Abilene ISD area had the chance to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. They were shocked when they realized that Santa could actually communicate with them.

“I’m so excited to see Santa and to see that he could sign I was completely shocked when I saw him, it was so cool!” said Mia, a Ward Elementary student.

AISD Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Dan Dukes dressed as Santa Clause to surprise the AISD deaf kids. The event took place at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center. Several people attended, including a group of ACU students who brought gifts to the kids.

“I love the deaf program in Abilene, my wife is deaf and that’s how I became involved in deaf education about 16 years ago,” said Dr. Dan Dukes. “Is an opportunity for me to give back to the students.”

Sandra Jones, Regional day School Program for the Deaf Coordinator for Abilene ISD, said the event’s main purpose was to create connections between parents and students so they could all be a part of a community.

“These kids are just like everybody else… they’re passionate, they’re smart, they have ambitions, they have goals, they want to be just like everybody else, so reach out to them and don’t be afraid,” said Sandra Jones.