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December 11, 2004

Signing Santa thrills children

From: Winnipeg Sun - Winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada - Dec 11, 2004

Can finally talk to jolly old elf


Julian Osborne's delight at meeting Santa Claus was written all over his face, and for good reason: yesterday was the first time he could "talk" to the jolly old gentleman from the North Pole. Osborne, from Norway House, was among 34 students from the Manitoba School For the Deaf who got to pass on their Christmas wish list by sign language yesterday at The Forks.

"Good! Good! Good!" is how Osborne, 11, described his experience through an interpreter. "It's really great. It's the first time I could talk to Santa."

After sitting on Santa's lap, Osborne picked up his camera and began shooting pictures of his classmates.

"He loves taking pictures," said grandmother Margaret. "He's been awaiting this anxiously for two weeks."

Margaret, along with husband Riley, moved to Winnipeg so Julian could attend deaf school. The couple began teaching themselves American sign language about six years ago.

"We used videotapes and we quit talking to each other to learn how to sign. Sometimes it's so quiet in our house we have to talk," she said with a laugh.

Julian wasn't the only person happy to see Santa yesterday. Kiyoko Tanaka, 17, an exchange student from Toyohashi, Japan, was amused at the delight Santa brought to the crowd.

"She thinks it's neat but very different than at home," said Tanaka, through interpreter Ricki Hall.

Signing Santa returns to The Forks tomorrow from noon until 3 p.m.

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