For more than 30 years, a Lord Kelvin Elementary teacher has been bringing the spirit of the season to the school's stage.
Barb Paul has given her time and passion to the school's holiday play, which is so popular that most students clamor to be a part of it. Even last year, when the teachers pulled back on extra-curricular duties as a part of job action, Paul made sure the show went on.
"I had a hard time not doing it, she says, adding, "I didn't want to let the kids down."
At the time, Paul sent out an email to her colleagues at the school, asking them to anonymously share their opinions about her continuing with the play during job action.
"It was unanimous, every single staff member said 'Go ahead, I'll volunteer my time,'" she says. "Although I was afraid to ask, I was so happy when everyone was on the same page. The staff was amazing, very supportive. I have a team of staff come in and help me."
For the last 33 years - minus only the two years she was on maternity leave - Paul has organized the school's Christmas play. She put it on one year when she was on crutches and another year when she had the flu and had to work with a bucket between her knees.
"I do love it all . I enjoy watching the set go up, and seeing them (students) in rehearsal when they start to bloom, and they don't need to be tied to their script anymore and can start being expressive and get into character. I love watching that development. And when the choir takes off, and they know their stuff and start singing with so much energy," she says.
Paul's cast size keeps going up and up, and this year it's the most it's ever been, she says.
She finds a place for anyone who tries out, including students with special needs.
"They enjoy it just as much as anybody else, so I make a special part that would suit them. It's totally inclusive. Anyone that can get up on that stage and audition for me can get a part," Paul says.
The majority of her teaching years have been at Kelvin. She started at the Moody Park school in 1980.
In 1981, she did her first play - called Silent Night. When she started the school had fewer students and she would pick and re-write plays that could incorporate the entire school. But by 2000, Kelvin enrolment had ballooned, so her play is now for students in grades 4 to 7. The primary students have their own concert night, Paul says.
Paul notes she has some helpful elves on her team. Kelvin's childcare worker Tara Worth has helped Paul with the drama component for several years. Grade 4 teacher Darryl Schelp painted many backdrops for the play in the past, and Nancy Baird, the school's kindergarten teacher, has helped sew many costumes.
For Paul, her years of putting on the play have been rewarding.
She had a particularly emotional experience when a former Kelvin student who was donating something to the school went to look for her. She told Paul that she had cast her in a play in 1981.
"She was new to the school and had a really hard time up until then, and I guess I saw something in her and gave her a pretty big role, and it changed her life she said.
"She's now a stand-up comedian," Paul says. "And she said that moment someone believed in her, and the experience was life changing. That moment just brought me to tears."
Being in the play has stayed with students in other ways, Paul says.
"I've had students who are in their 30s now and can still recite their lines," Paul says.
Being in the play also offers learning opportunities.
"The kids are doing memorization, ear training and drama skills," Paul says. "It takes concentration and learning how to sit quietly for an extended period of time."
Paul is also a member of an award-wining chamber choir called Phoenix Chamber Choir.
"It totally fulfills my musical ambitions," says the second alto.
But it also keeps her busy, especially this time of year. "I spend many evenings at the school and often go directly from the school to my choir practices. The rest of the year is not so bad," she says, explaining her hectic holiday schedule.
But it's all worth it.
"I love the school, I love the community, the kids give back more to me than I give to them. They appreciate what they're being given," she says. "I can't imagine working anywhere else. I think my last play will be in 2020. I've got nine more years to go. I'm going to stay right till the end, which will be 65."
That means nine more plays for Paul's lucky Kelvin students.