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Clinton Township

Students get hooked on crocheting

February 20, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Volunteer Mary Miller, left, gives McGlinnen fifth-grader Gabriella Smiljanic a hand with making her crocheted bag Feb. 6. McGlinnen is part of Clintondale Community Schools.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — McGlinnen Elementary School fourth-grade student Erica Tate was looking for something new to try.

So last year, she joined the school’s crocheting club. One of the first projects she made was a wallet. Last Wednesday, she worked on a hat she could wear so “I won’t mess up my hair.”

The crocheting club has become a popular pastime at the school. About 10 students participate in it every Wednesday and Thursday after lunch, with help from volunteer adults Sandy Wirgau, Joani Brown and Mary Miller.

“It’s fabulous. We started this years ago,” Principal Cathy LaMont said. She said crocheting club members initially made lap blankets for the Michigan Humane Society, and the club just “kind of evolved” from there.

Under the volunteers’ guidance, the students are learning to make a variety of projects, including small purses, tote bags and hats. It’s the volunteers who designed the fashionable looks. The club meets in the school’s music room, and the volunteers — called “aunt” and “grandma” by some of the students — are available to answer questions and assist.

“They grasped the concept really well. What I say to them is never give up. Learning is fun. You feel good about yourself,” Miller said. “They enjoy it. It’s rewarding for them, too.”

Recycled juice pouches are incorporated into the items, becoming the structure of the end products. LaMont says this helps helps support the school’s Green Team for its Michigan Green Schools award. McGlinnen is part of Clintondale Community Schools.

The crocheting club has left fourth-graders Reeghan Book and Destinee Fredericks in stitches. Book is making a lunch bag for her dad.

“It’s bigger than his old one,” said Book, who caught on to crocheting “pretty fast.” She likes “the fact you’re recycling to make something into a stylish purse or bag.”

“I thought it was really interesting and I wanted to get out and do something,” Fredericks said of her decision to join the club. “I think it’s fun and it’s peaceful.”

Fredericks is currently making a scarf.

“It’s going good,” the new club member said. “The first day, I didn’t get it. The second day, I got it really well.”

While working on a mini-purse Feb. 6, fourth-grader Madison Butina talked about the numerous projects her “nana” has crocheted.

“She inspired me,” Butina said. “I want to learn like she did.”

Third-grader Riley Norton; fourth-graders Kiara Mitchell, Jacob Lyons, Kaitlin Frank and Hayley Smith; and fifth-grader Gabriella Smiljanic also are hooked on crocheting.

“Its really fun and I like how we recycle,” said Smith, a member of the Green Team. “The first day, I was having trouble. Miss Sandy helped me. Now I’m making progress.”

Michigan Green Schools is a nonprofit agency that assists public and private schools in Michigan to achieve environmental goals to protect the air, land, water and animals in the state. Schools try to achieve points by completing various tasks the agency sets forth.

Schools can earn “green” status by achieving 10-14 points; “emerald” status by earning 15-19; and “evergreen” status by reaching 20 points or more. McGlinnen currently has “emerald” status.

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