SARANAC LAKE - A group of eighth-grade students at Saranac Lake Middle School have once again showed some of their fellow, younger students what the Christmas spirit is all about.
Thirty-six students in middle school teacher Joe Merrihew's technology classes spent the past two weeks making toy gifts for the holidays for roughly 60 kindergartners at Petrova Elementary School.
They delivered the handmade, unfinished wooden toy helicopters Thursday morning to students in Sarah Shatraw's, Krista Weakley's and Jen Yousey's kindergarten classes. The eighth- graders then helped the younger students paint the helicopters. Both schools are located in the same building.
Annie Collins, an eighth grader at Saranac Lake Middle School, watches as her cousin, Petrova Elementary School kindergartner Bryice Collins, paints a toy helicopter made by Annie and her fellow technology classmates.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
"I think it's an amazing opportunity for the kindergartners," Shatraw told the Enterprise. "They look up to the big kids, and the rest of the year they'll say 'I just saw one of our eighth grade buddies in the hall.' And for the eighth graders, I think it gives them some ownership as role models for these kids."
This is the second year this project has happened. Last year the older kids made toy cars for the kindergartners.
"It was very enjoyable the first time," Merrihew said. "Mr. (Petrova Principal Josh) Dann and I thought it was a great idea to get both schools involved. When I saw some first-graders this year, they recognized me and they were talking about their eighth-grade buddies from last year, and it sparked an interest in me doing it again."
Merrihew said it took about 10 days for his students to plan and build the toy helicopters from scratch.
"It's part of a whole unit on production, assembly line and different ways of producing items, and how a team effort can produce good results," he said. "It's also a good way to teach my kids about showing generosity. Some kids don't get much for Christmas. This doesn't have much money value, but it's something that's homemade. That's the key thing. A lot of things kids get are just purchased at the store these days."
The eighth-graders involved in the project said it was both fun and meaningful.
"It's just something nice to do, especially around Christmastime," said Kaitlyn Smith.
"It was awesome," said Jada Meadows. "It's cool for them to have a gift from the eighth-graders, the big kids. And it's really fun making them, too."
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondack