Kindergarteners at Coronado Middle School lit up as a sixth grade class surprised them by making hand-made blankets for Christmas.

“It was fun and felt good to make them so they could stay warm,” said Tristan Galarneau, a sixth grade student.

For the last two years, Nancy Casey has taught the Life Skills class. In this elective class students do hands-on activities such as cooking, sewing and planting for either a quarter or semester. Casey said if students take a picture of what they cooked or baked they will receive extra credit.

“I get great reports from their parents of what they are doing at home,” said Casey. “I mean, when you have a student who wants a sewing machine as a Christmas present the parents are thrilled.”

For sixth-grader Jonathan Russell, sewing is something that he does in his spare time. He said he got into sewing because of the class.

“I now own my own sewing machine and like it because I can make stuff and help people,” said Russell.

Principal Gerad Ball approached Casey a couple years ago about making blankets for children in Africa as a Christmas project for the students. Not long after, Casey realized that there was a need for blankets even within the school.

“I just thought that we need to take care of our own first,” said Casey. “Making blankets for children in Africa may be something in the future.”

After the blankets were given out, the kindergarteners in return gave candy canes to the sixth graders. Following that, the students all sang Christmas songs together.

All of the gifts and activities students do throughout the year are made possible because of the donations given by the SaddleBrooke community. In the past year, donations provided the school with a new sewing machine and a gas stove. Casey said the people from the community consistently volunteer at the school and really care about the students.

Casey’s care is also extended through her passion for teaching the students.

“I’ve held many different teaching positions at many different grade levels,” said Casey. “Not that I didn’t like all those positions but I am now doing all the things I love to do.”

The students end the semester by making hand-made ornaments, stockings and they send Christmas letters to soldiers.

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