Reporting Ukee Washington
By Ukee Washington
SEWELL, NJ (CBS) — It’s not every day a middle schooler goes back to kindergarten, but last week on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, that’s what a bunch of middle school-age kids did.
It’s delivery day at Grenloch Terrace Early Childhood Center in Sewell, New Jersey, courtesy of Orchard Valley Middle School eighth graders. Heading down the hall is a handmade chair for every kindergarten classroom, each in the shape of a different animal.
“I can’t believe it! It was better than we envisioned,” said Kelly Chapman, a reading specialist at Grenloch Terrace Early Childhood Center.
The idea for this menagerie came from a guidance counselor who saw similar chairs. Each kindergarten class picked an animal, and then art students designed the chairs. Orchard Valley tech students fabricated them.
Orchard Valley eighth grader Neil Doshi said, “Some had special ones where they had ears that we had to cut out, and they had to draw.”
Finally, art students gave the chairs a final coat of paint to bring their animals to life.
Tori Ferrante described her polar bear chair design: “Well, blue, kind of, is polar bears — water and everything, cool colors. And I was thinking maybe something cute, so I did like polka dots in pink colors!”
“The thing I like about this chair is the polka dots,” said kindergarten student Declan. “It’s really cool.”
It was all made possible by a grant from the Washington Township Education Foundation, a non-profit that helps the schools. Now, the chairs will be a special place in the classroom.
Kindergarten teacher Benay Birch explained, “It will be used for every time they read from their journal or anything else special they do for writing.”
And the builders and designers are proud.
“They’re really happy. It’s cute!” said Jordanna Mastroddi, an Orchard Valley eighth grader.
Dan Jedwabny, the Orchard Valley guidance counselor who came up with the project, said, “It’s such a great chance for the kids to see they were part of a big project that now is going to leave a chair in each classroom for a long, long time.”