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New Holland students hop on the Polar Express
Children enjoy train ride before holiday break
Wayne’s Train conductor Janice Phillips unloads students Friday afternoon at New Holland Core Knowledge Academy as students re-create “The Polar Express.”

Second-grader Fernanda Martinez had the chance to mimic one of her favorite holiday movies Friday, "The Polar Express."

"That was my first time on a train!" the 8-year-old exclaimed after she disembarked with her classmates.

Students at New Holland Core Knowledge Academy transformed their school into the North Pole on Friday, and train rides were offered to every student outside of the building.

Music teacher and New Holland community coordinator Tammy Miller said the holiday event was a new addition to the school year to get kids excited for winter break. It was also a reward for their hard work.

"This will gear them up for next semester. They can celebrate what they've accomplished," Miller said.

Throughout the building, students decorated their individual hallways, which are separated by grade level.

Third-graders created their interpretation of Santa's house, complete with a Christmas tree.

Down the hall, the kindergarten class had crafted Santa's post office. Throughout the week, students dropped off their letters to Santa in a small mailbox, which the school will mail for them, Miller said.

Byankah Cavazos, 9, was one of the students who helped concoct a reindeer-inspired design. Butcher paper outlines of stall doors were pressed against the walls with the names of Santa's reindeer. There was also a hay bale.

"It was fun. I got to color," Cavazos said.

Several students raved about the train ride, run by Wayne Phillips. His daughter, Marie, is a second-grade teacher at the school.

Phillips circled the school parking lot for four hours offering train rides to each grade level.

"I had a great time. I know they did, too," he said.

The students also had a visit from Santa Claus to round out their Christmas experience.

Miller said she expects the event will be a holiday