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Indian Trail News

Posted on: December 1, 2020

Three Sun Valley High School Educators Selected as Grand Marshals for Santa’s Cruise Thru

Santa and Mrs. Claus waving while riding in a red Jeep during a Christmas parade.

Instead of its traditional Christmas Parade, the Town of Indian Trail will be holding a Santa’s Cruise Thru on Sunday, Dec.6, where Santa will be riding atop a firetruck through various Indian Trail neighborhoods to wave to families.

In keeping with the parade tradition, a Grand Marshal car will lead the procession through the neighborhoods; however, for the first time, there will be three Grand Marshals, all educators from Sun Valley High School.

The Union West Rotary Club nominated Principal Dr. Michael Harvey and teachers Kate and Doug Latta. Presented with such outstanding options, the Indian Trail Town Council chose to have all three lead the Santa’s Cruise Thru as Grand Marshals.

Dr. Harvey has spent 22 years in education, and he has been principal of Sun Valley High School since 2018. On Oct. 23, 2020, Dr. Harvey learned he had been named Principal of the Year for the Union County Public Schools. Harvey, who originally went to college for sports management, changed his major to physical education with a specialization in adaptive PE after a summer spent working with adults and children with Autism. His focus has been on creating inclusive environments where every student has an avenue to succeed. Dr. Harvey has two children who attend Sun Valley High School.

“Growing from good to great is a mantra we have at Sun Valley High School,” Dr. Harvey said. “We realize the school system is one of the most important parts of a community, and we want people to be proud their kids go to our school. We want to be a great school. And great is not always about test scores. It’s about what our teachers do for our students, it’s about the offerings we provide so that every student can be successful. Community service is a part of being great as well. It’s a privilege to be named Grand Marshal, and I look forward to leading Santa through the neighborhoods.”

Mrs. Latta has been teaching at Sun Valley High School on and off since 1998. She is an exceptional children’s teacher and was named this year’s Teacher of the Year, which she says has been a humbling and rewarding experience. Mrs. Latta always wanted to be a teacher and planned on majoring in English. After working with a young man with special needs at a YMCA day camp during college, she switched her major to special education. She and Mr. Latta have two children who attend Sun Valley High School.

“I love working with all the kids,” Mrs. Latta said. “I love laughing and interacting with them. I like working to figure out how to make a curriculum work for a particular student so they can be successful. We try to include our exceptional students in all programming, so they feel like they’re a part of the school community. It’s a challenge, but it’s so rewarding. I’ve seen incredible kindness, openness, and acceptance during my time here, which is why I love the Sun Valley community so much.”

Mr. Latta is the Agriculture teacher at Sun Valley High School, and he has been teaching since 1996. Dr. Harvey recently presented him with the Hop Lawn Award, which is given to teachers who go above and beyond for their students. Mr. Latta received the award after making his shop accessible for a wheelchair-bound student so he could learn how to weld.

“The best part about teaching Agriculture is watching kids learn and problem solve,” Mr. Latta said. “Career technical education classes teach students skills that will benefit them long after high school, skills that can provide them a livelihood. If a student wants to learn, they should have the opportunity, regardless of their situation. It’s about looking at what a student can do, not what they can’t, and finding a way to help them succeed.”

The Grand Marshals will kick off Santa’s Cruise Thru at 1 p.m. in the Brookhaven neighborhood. The full route can be found on the Town’s website at http://indiantrail.org/DocumentCenter/View/2524/Santa-Cruise-Thru-Route. All times are approximate.

“We know the Christmas Parade is something our community looks forward to each year, and we love to host it,” said Hayden Kramer, Indian Trail parks and recreation manager. “In the interest of everyone’s health and safety, we decided to hold a Santa’s Cruise Thru instead, so all the good boys and girls still have a chance to see Santa. We are honored to have three Grand Marshals this year and look forward to spreading Christmas cheer throughout Indian Trail.”

When planning the parade route, the Town included as many neighborhoods as possible during the time that Santa and Mrs. Claus were available. If residents visit another neighborhood to see Santa, please do not park along the Cruise Thru route so that the firetruck can get through.

Indian Trail is also providing additional ways to interact with Santa. Parents can schedule a personal four-minute Zoom call with Santa by visiting https://secure.rec1.com/NC/city-of-indian-trail/catalog and clicking on Zoom With Santa to register. Parents can also fill out a form https://tinyurl.com/y2zc3939 to have their child receive a letter from Santa. 

For a full list of Parks and Recreation holiday programs, visit https://secure.rec1.com/NC/city-of-indian-trail/catalog.

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