Pelham Oaks Assistant Principal creates unique gifts for kindergarten class

Published 2:21 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Students in one Pelham Oaks Elementary class received an unexpected and special surprise from their assistant principal on Tuesday, Feb. 6 that brought both smiles and unique style to each member of Shelly Power’s kindergarten class.

Several weeks ago, the 16 students in Power’s class read a children’s book titled “The Hat,” by Jan Brett.

As part of an activity related to the book, students were tasked with designing their own custom hat by coloring in a blank picture of one supplied to them. Like with most projects, the students leant their creativity to their work and then submitted them to their teacher for display. Unbeknownst to them, the entire activity was a setup for a special surprise that would follow some weeks later.

“Without the students knowing, their assistant principal, Dr. Kelsey Deason, took each of their designs and knitted each of them a hat to look just like the one they designed,” said Nicole Knight, communications manager for Pelham City Schools. “She surprised them when she came to class and presented all of them with their personalized hats.”

Deason picked up crocheting as a hobby after graduating with her doctoral degree this past May. Despite her relatively fresh introduction to the textiles-based art, she has enjoyed learning and quickly developing her skills in the craft.

“I have always been an avid reader, and I feel it is important for me to model my love of literacy to the students in our school,” Deason said. “Therefore, when one of our kindergarten teachers, who is also my son’s teacher, Mrs. Powers, mentioned she was reading ‘The Hat’ to her students, I presented the idea of making the story come to life by having the students design their own hat and me creating them through crocheting.”

The endeavor took Deason roughly two weeks of crocheting every evening in order to produce the hats. Throughout that process, her son would sit with her and recite stories and experiences related to each student while she worked on their hats. Once all of the hats were completed, the surprise delivery was made.

“The students sat on the rug, and I revealed each of their hats individually,” Deason said. “The students were amazed to see their creations come to life. Pure joy is the only way to describe the experience. It has been magical to see the students wearing their hats to school every day during the cold weather.”

For Deason, the memories related to creating the hats and seeing the joy brought by them are priceless. It is also her hope that the unique gifts have instilled a connection to literacy each student will continue to cherish throughout their schooling and beyond.

“I’m in awe of her talent and willingness to make something so special for each of the students,” Knight said.

Brett’s book, “The Hat” was first published by Jan Brett in 1997 and has served as one of the authors most popular books. With more than 42 million books in print, Jan Brett is one of the nation’s foremost illustrators of children’s books.

The book serves as not only as a simple children’s story with detailed illustrations, but also introduces children to introductory aspects and the concept of peer pressure and supplies the lesson of how one individual can become a trendsetter that makes an impactful difference within a community.