Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Gage Landauer, Feature Editor, Writer

The play, “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus” written by Jamies Gorski, is based on a true story from 1897. Our school will be performing this play November 21st through 23rd at 7 pm, with a  matinee on the 23rd at 3 pm. The tickets cost seven dollars normally but there is a two-dollar discount per ticket for every two cans brought in while purchasing the tickets.

This play follows little girl Virginia O’Hanlon, who wants to know whether there is a Santa Claus or not. Her father tells her to write a letter asking the family’s favorite newspaper “The Sun,” because “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” The editor-in-chief, Walter Gibson, assigns responding to Virginia to editor Francis Church, who hasn’t published a decent story in some time and fears being fired. Francis Church wrote an editorial addressing the philosophy behind believing in Santa Claus. 

Senior Wesley Brewer, a student involved in “Yes, Virginia” explained that every role is double cast, “meaning two people for each role, who each get two shows…” This will give every showing a new feel or as Brewer put it: “each performance will have it’s own flavor, like peppermint hot cocoa, or Mexican hot chocolate.” 

Church’s response was so endearing that some people have made a tradition out of reading the piece to their children; it is one of the most reprinted editorials, appearing in stamps, books, movies, country music, and plays. Francis was an atheist and a cynic and when he was a war correspondent he often wrote about his lack of faith in society. He often wrote about very controversial topics and when he was given a little girl’s question of faith he wanted to answer her truthfully.

Virginia O’Hanlon got her bachelor’s degree in 1910, a master’s in education in 1912, and a doctorate in 1930. She was an educator from 1912 until 1959 when she retired. O’Hanlon got mail asking her about her letter to “The Sun” throughout her life and would always include a copy of the editorial when she replied. On May 13, 1971 she died at the age of 81. She told the public that the letter had a very positive impact on her life.