Smithton Elementary School Student Council members will be working their “elfin magic” this week as they help fellow students create holiday gifts.
Whitney Hayes, the school’s K-6 computers instructor and student council sponsor, said the goal was to create “something for kids to give to somebody special.” What they came up with was Christmas ornaments for students in kindergarten through fourth grade, while the fifth- and sixth-graders will make fudge later this week.
The mobile “Santa’s Workshop” effort started early Monday with teacher Amanda Kenyon’s first-graders; the workshop will move from class to class throughout the week. With the help of the 10 student council members, Kenyon’s students decorated ornaments and gift bags.
Speech pathologist Melissa Walsh, who assists Hayes with student council projects, said students will make different ornaments, with the level of difficulty increasing at each grade level. Also, the different projects mean “mom and dad won’t get the same thing from all of their kids,” Walsh said.
The first-graders started with glittery white balls, then added their thumbprint with brown paint. Once dry, the print was turned into a reindeer face with the addition of antlers and eyes drawn on with marker and a red fabric ball glued on for a nose.
Ashiyah Wassam wrote “To Grandpa” on her gift bag, then used markers to make an orange Christmas tree with plenty of presents under it. Zander Haight made his intentions clear, writing, “I’m giving this to my mom” over a multi-color heart drawing, and adding “I love my mom” underneath.
Anna Kringle said the activity was fun, as she drew multiple hearts on her bag after completing her ornament. She later added a rainbow and a flower.
“That’s so cute — you guys are doing a great job,” Walsh told the class.
Council member Dylan Ellwood, a fifth-grader, enjoyed helping the younger students make something for Christmas. He said the council raised more than $400 for Show-Me Christian Youth Home at Thanksgiving, and recently completed a food drive for the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. Fellow council member and fifth-grader Joseph Tolmachv surveyed the room and said, “The kids are liking this. They are having pretty much fun.”
Council president Haleigh Ferguson, a sixth-grader, said her favorite part of the activity was helping the students make their thumbprint on the ornament. And since she is the youngest in her family, working with the first-graders gave her a chance to be a “big sister.”
The original plan was for the ornaments to be left in Hayes’ classroom until they dried, but that process went faster than anticipated so the students got to keep them.
“I’m glad they are excited that they have something to give away,” Hayes said.