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Local superintendent spreads holiday cheer by transforming into a life-sized Elf on The Shelf

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 11:37 AM CST
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RIESEL, Texas (KWTX) -A local superintendent spread holiday cheer during the last week of school by transforming into a life-sized Elf on The Shelf as he dressed up and then popped up everywhere from a school rooftop to the playground and even inside a hallway display case.

Brandon Cope, a third-year superintendent at Riesel, has been all the talk around the small community after appearing as Rowdy the Riesel Elf.

He says it was an idea that really started in a staff meeting as a joke.

“It started off as a joke in the lunchroom with my office staff and about 30 minutes later I saw an invoice for a paid elf costume and so here we are,” Cope laughed.

Cope not only looked the part dressed in his red and white elf costume from head to toe every day, but he took the role seriously.

Rowdy first appeared Monday on top of a school bus.

He later greeted students by sitting on the elementary school sign and waving as they were dropped off to campus.

Rowdy was spotted “monkeying” around on the playground and playing instruments with the band.

He’s hidden behind Christmas trees and posed for pictures with Santa himself.

One day, the elf sat on the roof of the school.

Rowdy made sure he checked on students’ behaviors all week.

One day he appeared high above the cafeteria lunchroom, peeking out of an attic.

The kids and staff got a big kick out of Rowdy’s decision to squeeze into a display case in the hallway. The staff told the students he really needed to work on his flying skills.

While he minded the rules mostly, Rowdy also lived up to his name. One day, he wrapped an employee’s pickup truck in toilet paper and was caught red-handed by Riesel Police Chief D.L. Wilson. Rowdy was almost taken to jail but because of how much the kids loved him on campus, Wilson let him go.

Cope says playing the elf has been a great way to connect with students.

“I got to push some kids on the swing,” Cope said.

“I’ve gotten to get out of my office and be with the kids again.”

Cope also says the fun has been a welcome sight to the students and staff who have endured so much with COVID-19.

“It’s been a long year for the kids. It’s been a rough year,” Cope said.

“It’s been hard trying to make up for the COVID stuff and just to take a few minutes to relax and spread some Christmas cheer, I think this has been great!”

Rowdy wrapped up his time at Riesel Friday by attending a dance party with kindergartners, a Christmas party with third graders, and rolling up and down the hallways in a cart. While Rowdy may have to go back to the North Pole for now, Cope’s already got big plans brewing for next year.

“I definitely will consider doing this again next year,” Cope said.

“It’s been a lot of fun.”

Superintendent at Riesel appears as Rowdy the Riesel Elf.
Superintendent at Riesel appears as Rowdy the Riesel Elf.(Riesel ISD)
Brandon Cope, Superintendent at Riesel, transforms into Rowdy the Riesel Elf
Brandon Cope, Superintendent at Riesel, transforms into Rowdy the Riesel Elf(Riesel ISD)
Brandon Cope, Superintendent at Riesel, transforms into Rowdy the Riesel Elf
Brandon Cope, Superintendent at Riesel, transforms into Rowdy the Riesel Elf(Riesel ISD)

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