Topeka Public Schools’ staff deliver surprise gifts to families of first responders

Education 21st Century

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Topeka Public Schools’ staff showed first responders and their families that they love and support them with a very special surprise.

This year has not been easy for the Sigle family, with dad being the emergency medical services chief for the Topeka Fire Department and mom being a Topeka teacher, plus taking care of two boys, it’s been tough.

“We’re not the only ones going through it,” said dad Richard Sigle. “The 230-some firefighters, the thousands of teachers and staff, the nurses.”

To bring them some holiday joy, Topeka Public Schools’ Superintendent Tiffany Anderson dressed up as Mrs. Claus, or “Chocolate Claus” as she called it, to give them a very special gift.

“Any time that you can pause for a moment, in the middle of just a crazy year, and show love and kindness and generosity and remind all this is why we’re here,” Anderson said.

Anderson delivered gifts to the family and special letters for the two boys, both Topeka Public School students.

“I’m incredible humbled,” Sigle said. “I’m probably a little more emotional than I normally am.”

Anderson has dressed up as Mrs. Claus for the past four years to deliver gifts to her students, and this year she knew she needed to do something extra special.

“Don’t let a pandemic stop you from loving on one another. Don’t let a pandemic stop you from being kind and generous,” Anderson said. “It just looks a little different.”

The message behind this surprise, Anderson said, was truly to let the family know that they are supported, loved and appreciated.

Something we should all do this holiday season.

“If you know someone who is a teacher, a nurse, first responder on the front line, just tell them thank you,” Sigle said. “You don’t have to get them anything. Everybody in these professional lines of work along those parts there, they do the job because they care about what they do.”

Mrs. Claus will be surprising more first responder families with gifts throughout the month of December, Anderson said.

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