TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Since the 2020 holiday school recess, two Rensselaer Park Elementary School teachers have made it their mission to connect with the students in a creative, seasonal way before the school break. Thus, the first annual Rensselaer Park Holiday Video was created by RPES teachers Theresa Eckler and Peter Allen.

Now in its third year, Mrs. Eckler and Mr. Allen have made the most ambitious RPES Holiday Video yet by essentially recreating the 2003 Will Ferrell classic, “Elf,” at RPES. In the 10-minute-long video—titled “Buddy the Elf visits RPES”— Mr. Allen, as Buddy the Elf, goes around the school recreating many of the film’s famous moments with help from colleagues and students. Rensselaer Park Elementary School serves Lansingburgh’s grade 3-5 students.

With RPES students learning remotely during the 2020 holiday season, the two teachers wanted to find a creative way to connect with their students from afar. With a bit of practice in virtual meetings, some strategically placed props, and a lot of holiday cheer, the first RPES Holiday Video—Santa Claus is Coming to Town— was filmed. The students, school families, and faculty/staff loved the video so much that the duo decided it should be an annual tradition from then on.

For the 2021 video, titled “All Aboard RPES,” remote learning was over, and Mrs. Eckler was able to film Mr. Allen back at the school as the conductor of the Polar Express. The 2021 video was a big step up in production from the year before and the teachers spent much time and effort ensuring the 2022 video took the production even further by recreating an RPES version of Elf.

“It’s something the students, families, and community of Lansingburgh now look forward to and we hope it’s a holiday tradition our students will always remember,” said Mrs. Eckler. You can view this year’s production in the player above.