News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 19, 2012

Middle school students work to make difference

8th graders take gifts to youth in hospital

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — In the wake of an event that must seem like a horrible dream for America’s children, some Honey Creek middle school students have used their time and talent to bring smiles to the faces of kids facing a rough time.

On Tuesday, a group of enthusiastic girls from Sherri Armstrong’s eighth-grade English class brought toys and hand-made gifts to young patients in Union Hospital’s pediatric ward.

“In the midst of all the horrible things happening right now, it is nice to see these young girls who are working to make a difference for children in need,” said Armstrong as her students delivered hand-made tutus and bows and also puzzles and Hot Wheels cars to the children’s unit.

The girls especially brightened the day of Josiah Richey, 9, a young patient who gratefully accepted a Hot Wheels car and a Spider-Man puzzle from the group of smiling girls. Fittingly, Josiah, a fourth-grader at Fuqua Elementary School, had just watched the movie “Spider-Man,” the night before, he said.

Armstrong’s students also made colorful tutus and bows for any girl patients. On Tuesday, none of the pediatric ward’s eight patients were girls, so the hospital will keep the tutus and bows for the future when girl patients are checked in, said Jennifer Harrah, nursing care manager/NICU nursery and pediatrics for Union.

“They will really love these,” Harrah said of the colorful tutus when the students arrived on the third-floor ward.

Armstrong’s class recently performed Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the girls had made tutus to wear for the show, Armstrong said. The girls then thought it would be great to make tutus and bows to bring to any little girls spending the holiday season in the hospital, she said, adding the girls came to school early to work on their gifts.

“We just figured this would be the place where kids would really want them,” said Anna Liebermann, one of the students delivering gifts with her classmates.

“Especially at Christmastime,” added fellow student Sydney Nguyen.

Realizing boys would not want tutus or bows, the girls decided to use money they raised recently selling snacks to purchase Hot Wheels cars and puzzles to bring to the hospital, Armstrong said. But the girls seemed most proud of the colorful tutus and bows they made themselves.

“What little girl doesn’t like tutus and bows?” asked Isabelle Findley, one of the 8th graders.

Other Honey Creek Middle School girls who were a part of the project and visited the hospital Tuesday were Maddie Schilling, Emily Liebermann and Mallory Cooper.

“They are a great group of girls,” their teacher said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or