Student From PS 197: 'I Had The Best, Best Day'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Christmas came early this year for a group of students severely impacted by superstorm Sandy.

As CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, they were whisked away to the North Pole to meet the big man himself, Jolly Old Saint Nick.

About 150 students from PS 197 in the Rockaways were greeted by Santa’s elves as they arrived for the trip of a lifetime.

Each student received a round-trip ticket to the “North Pole” on Delta flight 0025.

The trip was set up as an opportunity for the kids to forget about their troubles.

“They were really hit hard by Hurricane Sandy,” said Cross Island YMCA Executive Director Dana Feinberg. “A lot of them have been displaced out of their houses, lost pretty much everything.”

Some of the kids said arriving at the North Pole was jaw-dropping.

“It feels good because it’s cold here,” 7-year-old Mariah Jones told Murdock.

The “North Pole” featured a bouncy house, basketball and other entertainment for the kids.

The main event, though, was seeing Santa.

“Santa Claus is the best Santa ever,” Tristen Matthieu, 6, told Murdock.

“I’m going to ask him for a big castle,” another child said.

Each boy and gift left the “North Pole” with a gift.

“I had the best, best day,” Matthieu said.

The plane never actually took off, but taxied for about 30 minutes to a nearby hangar now known as the “North Pole.”

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