He looks like Santa Claus and knows everything: Saint Nicholas aka Nikolo. In Austria, he visits children on the 6th of December and rewards them with gifts, provided they behaved well throughout the year. This year, his sleigh went transatlantic to fulfil Nikolo’s wish to visit children in the nation’s capital.
The fifth graders of Ross Elementary School in Washington, DC, were overwhelmed when Saint Nicholas paid them a surprise visit on December 18, 2018. Luckily, he did not meet a single naughty student. As a result, every single kid of the Austrian Embassy’s adopted class was rewarded.
Like Labiba, who is very caring toward her friends and classmates. Or Cyrus, who is both a talented comic book author and an illustrator. Or Zoe, an aspiring ballerina, who also helps shelving books in the library. Saint Nicholas was particularly impressed by baseball fanatic Larkin who knows every word to the musical Hamilton. He and all of his classmates got a goodie bag which was replenished for Saint Nicholas by the San Antonio Spurs, home of the only Austrian in the National Basketball Association, Jakob Poeltl (yeah, watch out for the next spelling bee!).
Needless to say that after receiving their gifts, the students had tons of questions to ask. After all, it was their first time encountering such a special person from Austria.
“Is you beard real?”, a girl wanted to know.
“Of course”, Saint Nicholas answered. “I haven’t cut it all year long.”
“How old are you?”, another student wanted to know.
“Very old. I lost count”, Saint Nicholas admitted.
At the end of the encounter, the students gathered around Saint Nicholas to pose for a photo and got to try stollen, the sweet Austrian Christmas bread made with fruit, nuts and marzipan.
The Embassy Adoption Program is a partnership between the DC Public Schools and Washington Performing Arts which pairs embassies with fifth and sixth grade classes for a year's worth of cross-cultural learning, projects, and enrichment activities.