[ti:Santas Sharpen Their Skills at Michigan School] [by:www.51voa.com] [00:00.00]更多听力请访问51VOA.COM [00:11.16]As soon as the Thanksgiving holiday is over, [00:15.83] Santa Clauses start appearing everywhere [00:20.55]– in shopping centers, supermarkets and other places. [00:27.16]It takes more than red clothing and a white beard [00:31.96]to be a professional Santa. [00:35.40]In fact, many aspiring Santas attend special classes. [00:42.72]The CW Howard Santa School is in Midland, Michigan. [00:50.28]It is the longest continuously running Santa Claus School in the world. [00:58.12]This year, it is celebrating its 80th anniversary. [01:03.80]VOA recently visited the school. [01:08.60]More than 250 Santas have gathered at the School [01:14.12]to prepare for their seasonal work. [01:17.76]Charlie W. Howard was the Santa Claus [01:21.52] in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for 17 years. [01:27.52] He started the school in 1937. [01:32.24]Tom Valent is the school's current leader. [01:36.08]"At that time, there was a great need for good Santas, better Santas. [01:41.01]Santas didn't portray the image that we want. [01:46.16]Santa Claus stands for all good things and some of the gentlemen [01:51.28]that were portraying that image weren't up to par then." [01:54.22] The three-day Santa workshop teaches people "Santa sign language," [02:01.04]facts about reindeer and clothing and make-up style. [02:07.48]The future Santas also become familiar with the newest wish list toys, [02:13.64] gain interview experience for radio and television [02:18.92]and even get advice on how to do their business taxes. [02:26.36] Robert Davis has played Santa for 30 years. [02:31.24]He has attended the school several times. [02:35.44]"I think no matter how good you are at whatever you choose to do, [02:40.85]you can always be better. [02:43.01]And not only does the school teach you so much, [02:47.19]but when you interact with 250 fellow people who love the same thing you do, [02:53.75] you learn something new every year." [02:56.28]The student Santas' headquarters is the Santa House. [03:02.24]Tom Valent designed the house in 1986 [03:07.04] to look like those made of gingerbread, a Christmas tradition. [03:13.88]Conservative estimates suggest about 15,000 students [03:19.44]have graduated from the Santa School. [03:23.20]They come from all over North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia to study. [03:32.72]This year, the school welcomed Santas from all 50 states [03:38.72]as well as Canada, Denmark, New Zealand and Norway. [03:46.52]Fred Ostaer is the only Norwegian Santa at the school this year. [03:53.56]He is known as Oslo Santa. [03:57.28]It is his eighth time at the school. [04:00.72] "I have been Santa this Christmas 65 years. [04:08.48] I started to be a Santa when I was 12." [04:14.36] The Santas never claim to be the one and only "real" Santa. [04:20.80]Instead they describe themselves as "the spirit of Christmas." [04:27.40]At the school's opening-night activity, Santa Walk, [04:32.08]they tell visiting children they are the "cousins of Santa." [04:38.60]Robert Davis says they also never promise children anything. [04:45.24] Instead they say they will "try their best." [04:49.44]"Anywhere I go, I try to make my contact [04:54.87]and exchange with that child the very best that it can be [04:59.04] because that could be that child's best five minutes of the year." [05:04.00] After all, as founder Charles W. Howard liked to say, [05:10.04]"He errs who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. [05:15.16]Santa enters through the heart." [05:19.04]I'm Caty Weaver. [05:20.44]更多听力请访问51VOA.COM