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OHMS students give back to the community
DECORATING BAGS— Mrs. Twombly-Wiser's seventh graders at the Oxford Hills Middle School Monday worked on decorating reusable shopping bags that they will hand out to Hannaford customers on December 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
WRITING A POEM — Seventh grader Matthew Laroche works busily on his poem that will go into the bag he plans to decorate for this year's community service project. On December 20, students will pass out their hand-decorated shopping bags to Hannaford customers entering the store.
OXFORD HILLS — Seventh-grade students of the Oxford Hills Middle School have been gearing up for their annual community service project; on Monday, students worked busily to hand-decorate reusable shopping bags and write holiday poems, which they will hand out to shoppers at the Hannaford in Oxford on December 20.
Language Arts Department Head Cheryl Lang said that this year the students are being pushed to think about becoming eco-friendly by shifting from paper bags to reusable ones. She hopes to maintain the integrity of the department's poetry unit by having each student write a poem that will go inside the decorated bags.
"If we want to be able to give back to the community we want something to be usable," said Lang, holding up a bright, red shopping bag with a snowflake on the front. "It just seemed like a likely match to use these grocery bags."
During school on Monday, seventh-grade students of Mrs. Twombly-Wiser and Mrs. Holbrook's Language Arts classes each decorated their own reusable shopping bag using stencils and markers. Each student created a holiday scene of their choice.
Seventh-grader Garrett Haslett, of Mrs. Twombly-Wiser's class, decorated his bag with a Western theme.
"I got interested in the Western theme because my dad is into it. He let me watch the movie Tombstone ... starring Kurt Russell," he said.
Last year students spent to two three weeks decorating the bags, but this year, the goal was to spend more time on the poetry and less time decorating bags, said Lang. She said that after studying poetry and the various types, students will then create their own poems that will be slipped into each one of the bags.
Students of Mrs. Holbrook's class engaged in poetry exercises to get them thinking about which poem they would put into their bags. They worked on haiku poems and two-word poems, where each line consists of two descriptive words that don't rhyme. Seventh grader Matthew Laroche chose to write his poem about hockey.
"I like the way it is formatted, and how it's written," he said.
Laroche said when he decorates his bag, it will have a picture of someone skiing on the front.
"I am hoping that someone will react by trying out the sport, and realize that it's healthy for you," he said.
Up until this year, said Lang, the poetry unit involved the entire school. "But we shifted the focus to seventh grade because we have so many different types of projects to do, and we are trying to share the [work] load," she said.
According to Lang, approximately 250 shopping bags will be handed out to Hannaford shoppers. She said that last year was the first year students made the trip to Hannaford to personally hand out the bags.
"We noticed that, even though we were there a good six hours, we had a ton of bags leftover," she said. "[Before], the students really never got to see that end result of their bags. Occasionally we would get letters from customers, but it was nothing like students actually getting to meet and greet their customers. That was an amazing experience that we want to continue."
Unfortunately, said Lang, not all the students who decorated a bag will be handing them out at Hannaford.
"There will be three to four students with me at all times at Hannaford ... in 45 minute intervals," she said. "Out of 350 students, probably only 25 will actually go. We do it by a lottery; we ask the students 'who wants to ... participate,' and out of those who want to, [some] will draw a number and will be asked to be prepared with their project."
The bags will be passed out by the students to the Hannaford customers entering the store on Tuesday, December 20, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.