By Abby Butler
Giving and receiving is a quintessential part of the holiday season. Marian students recognize this opportunity to give and the joy that it brings. On Nov. 12, Marian seniors who are in Sociology II took a field trip to meet and get to know the first-graders at Holy Name Catholic School.
Upon meeting the first graders, the children shared their vivid dreams, and the seniors took note of the interests and passions of their assigned students. Over the next month, one or two seniors worked together to create a personal storybook that portrays the first-grader as a hero in a selected country around the world.
Hannah Dehn ’19 was paired with one of the first-graders, Ariyana, who she said reminded her a lot of herself as a child. “It was crazy how many little kids had such similar personalities to their older buddies. We picked our kids from a large list of names and, yet, each pair was almost perfectly matched,” Dehn said.
The seniors then worked to create a story that accurately featured their selected country, geographically and culturally. “It made learning relatable, practical, and fun. [Seniors] were able to learn about a number of countries and their respective cultures in an engaging way that was beneficial to my students as well,” Miss Angelica O’Brien, first grade teacher, said.
To make the storybook meaningful and personalized, they used Photoshop and creativity to edit images of the Holy Name student’s face into the book before printing and binding it together. “I think the kids really appreciated the work we put into the book for them,” Dehn said.
Mr. Tom Baker, Sociology II teacher, has incorporated this project in his class for the past 16 years. It provides Marian students with the opportunity to learn about different regions of the world and helps Holy Name first-graders recognize the value and importance of being a part of a culturally diverse community. “The project was valuable for my first graders because of the relational element and all of my students were able to experience an abundance of individualized attention,” O’Brien said.
The special project was presented to the first graders at the annual Christmas party on Dec. 7. in Marian’s cafeteria. Together, the students made a reindeer craft, colored, enjoyed Christmas cookies and laughed as they read the stories depicting their buddies as heros around the world. The seniors took the students on a tour of the school afterwards and other Marian students embraced the visitors with high fives, happy to have them here. “I loved watching everyone’s buddies warm up to them throughout the whole time at Holy Name and Marian. By the end of the experience, everyone was so sad to say goodbye to each other, and I truly believe each kid will remember their senior buddy,” Dehn said.
Marian and Holy Name students’ collaboration around Christmas time gives the first-graders not only a physical book, but also a feeling of importance in the vast world they are living in. “Our students and parents loved the individual attention each of our students received and introduced them to stories of adventures in other countries. It feels like both groups truly enjoyed their time together,” Ms. Kelly Kula, first grade teacher, said.
Marian students cherish the opportunity to meet the young heros and create an unique storybook together.