*This story originally appeared in The Budget’s March 7, 2018, Local Edition.
By Beverly Keller
Together, students in grades seven and eight at Beacon Hill Community School in Mount Eaton are not only learning but they are serving.
“They are learning the basics,” said Jayne McGrew, Home Economics instructor at the school and leader of a project to create baby blankets for Mt. Eaton Care Center.
McGrew said the project came together easily. “I had fabric that would be great for blankets and know that sewing is an important skill,” she explained. “I was driving by Mt. Eaton Care Center and just stopped to see if they might be interested in accepting baby blankets if we created them.”
Mt. Eaton Care Center said yes to the blankets, and McGrew and her 27 students have been hard at work ever since. “This has been a big project. For some of the girls, this is their first experience sewing because they have older sisters at home who are skilled with the sewing machine,” McGrew said.
“It fits right into our work here at Beacon Hill,” explained Principal Sheila Hanna. “We want our students to have solid skills they can take away from here, life skills that will benefit them.”
In addition to sewing, the project teaches layout, color coordination, design and project planning. Students went straight to work when they met last Thursday morning at The Pier just outside of Mt. Eaton. They quickly set up sewing machines and grabbed their works in progress. Some had blocks sewn together in rows and were going to the next step, having quilted each square on the machine. Others focused on ripping out some stitches that were inadvertently placed.
Sitting with a sea of blue fabrics at her machine was Lena Chupp. “Blue is my favorite color,” she said with a smile as she carefully ripped out a seam that wasn’t quite right. “I’m learning.”
And that is exactly what McGrew and Hanna agree the project is, a learning experience with a heaping helping of service built right in. “We are excited to see them meet with the folks at Mt. Eaton Care Center to deliver these blankets in the next few weeks,” Hanna said. “We enjoy serving the community and helping our students understand the importance of helping others.”
Hanna noted that Beacon Hill is a school that continues to grow based on the needs of the community. There are currently students enrolled from East Holmes, Garaway, West Holmes, Dalton and Southeast Local. “Parents choose us for what we have and what we don’t have,” she noted. “We work hard with our students to make sure they are proficient or above in all areas. We are a blended school that offers classroom-based instruction that can help students understand online courses. Students can go at their own pace but they are kept accountable to make sure they are making progress. ”
She shared that hands-on projects like the blankets are absolutely critical in making sure students leave Beacon Hill with skills and an education that make them employable, good citizens of the community. “We require community service and believe that students can learn valuable skills while serving others,” Hanna said.
An information night to learn more about Beacon Hill Community School is set for Tuesday, April 10, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Call Tammy Graf at 330-695-6500 for more information.