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For Immediate Release — December 17, 2010 | Americas
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PEACHTREE CITY, GA — December 17, 2010 — Word was just received that two videos produced by Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools students have been selected and will be used to highlight Santa’s annual journey around the world that will be monitored by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) website beginning on Dec. 24, 2010.

Students from Faith Middle School at Fort Benning, GA., and from West Point Middle School, at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, produced two of seven videos selected from throughout the world. Their videos will be broadcast on the NORAD Tracks Santa website, and on a variety of military and public media outlets such as the Armed Forces Network and the Pentagon Channel. The website and media coverage attract millions of visitors each year who are able to learn about Department of Defense missions as well as world geography.

For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight. The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born. To read more about the history, go to NORAD’s website.

Students of West Point Middle School – Brianna Brooks, Dura’n Coaxum, Davis Fleming, Robert Huber, Wyatt Vermeesch, and Allison Whittle – take visitors around the installation and tell a little history about each locale. Principal David Rudy said, “I am so proud of the effort and creativity these students demonstrated on the completion of the NORAD project. Their teacher, Charles Davis, took the extra time to provide his students with a meaningful, relevant learning activity that used digital video to demonstrate their learning.”

Faith Middle School students Jaylen Moss, Robert Quinterro, Gunter Hammond, Nadia Lockard, Yasmine Philson, Faith Ware, Jacob Floyd, Maylani Conley and Katie Dixon take viewers to the jump towers on Fort Benning, Ga. During the video they show Santa how they’re used by the soldiers and they warn him to keep his sleigh above the towers as he and the reindeer fly overhead. Proud teachers are Libbie Kurinec and Cindy Givens.

“I was very excited when the email came in for the request to participate in the ‘NORAD Tracks Santa’ program,” said Faith Principal Angie Cotton. “I knew our video productions crew could handle the task. They are at ease with our new high-speed technology called the Tri-Caster. They integrated their knowledge and technology skills to create a quality real-world product.”