Bradley, Eisenhower and MacArthur Elementary School students will help spread holiday cheer at the Fort Leavenworth Commissary from 4-5 p.m. Dec. 16 with hand-decorated bags for patrons to use while they are shopping.
“It is great way to give back to the community with a little Christmas spirit,” said Gretchen Martens, MacArthur art teacher. “Plus, it showcases the talents of the students that attend the Fort Leavenworth schools.”
Eisenhower sixth-grader Kate Lysaght said she was excited about the project.
“It wasn’t going to be that hard of a project, and it is doing something nice for the community,” she said. “I hope that (Commissary patrons) like them and that it maybe brightens their day, and they are happy about it.”
Though MacArthur students, under the direction of Martens, handed out bags at the Commissary in 2017, this is the first time all three elementary schools are participating.
“We discussed participating during one of our professional learning meetings,” said Julie Hanf, Bradley art teacher. “We thought this would be an additional community project for our art program at Fort Leavenworth along with our art show in the spring.”
Julie Beying, Eisenhower art teacher, said she thought the project would be a good opportunity for the students to connect to the outside community.
“I just think people in general, when they see kids’ artwork, they get excited about that because … it is just something cool to get from the kids,” Beying said.
The students designed hundreds of bags using tempera paints that feature holiday themes such as Santa Claus, the Grinch and candy canes.
ViLyne Wetterer-Rivera, MacArthur fourth-grader, said the Grinch was her favorite design to create.
“It is a really good movie for the holidays,” she said. “It always cheers me up.” Nathaniel Welsh, Bradley fourth-grader, said the candy canes were his favorite to paint.
“They stick out more because they are pretty big, and they have these bright bold colors,” Welsh said.
All the while, students learned painting techniques for creating big pictures that are clearly visible and how to make sure the paint goes on smoothly, as well as how their art may inspire others to pay it forward.
“We discussed how it makes shoppers happy when they see students participating in the community,” Hanf said. “We also discussed the concept of paying it forward and uses for the bags after the groceries were taken out. Suggestions were made that the bags could be used as a gift bag or used for wrapping paper.”
Paying it forward was what Welsh said was his hope for the patrons who receive the bags.
“Maybe it will inspire them to put stuff in the bag and donate it for the homeless families,” Welsh said.