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Middle school students spread holiday cheer with handmade cards at nursing home

Times Leader - 12/21/2017

Dec. 21--KINGSTON -- As Bruce Schnell looked at two handmade Christmas cards, he was reminded of his children and how they used to make similar cards when the holidays rolled around.

The Lehighton native was one of 120 residents of Kingston Manor who received cards Wednesday that were created and distributed by sixth-graders from an art class at Wyoming Valley West Middle School.

"It's fantastic," Schnell said, while relaxing in the care center's activity room. "I love to see kids."

The project was Nicole Delevan's brainchild. Delevan has been a student-teacher in art classes at the school since September. A total of 170 cards were made and 30 students participated in the event, some attending with their parents. Delevan first got the idea when working with a seventh-grade class that made artwork to donate to North Penn Manor, an assisted-living facility in Wilkes-Barre.

"I hope the kids realize that you can affect others positively even by making something as simple as a card," she said.

Erin Murray, the teacher who Delevan has been student-teaching with for the past few months, actually taught her art when Delevan was a senior in high school. Murray is very proud of her former student for organizing the project.

"It's very humbling," she said. "You feel like you did a good job."

Receiving the cards and chatting with the students was certainly a highlight for many of the home's residents.

"This is nice," said Charles Thorne, 69, who has been at the manor since last August.

"I feel like it's important to help others during the holidays instead of just worrying about ourselves and our own families," said Eliana Pileggi, one of the sixth-graders who made a card.

Even though she didn't make a card, seventh-grader Kaylee Smith wanted to volunteer and visit with residents. "It's fun and it gets them to smile," she said of the students' trip.

Many residents couldn't help but smile when a group of five students without any practice or rehearsal sang classic Christmas carols such as "Deck the Halls" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Students from Wyoming Valley West will be passing out holiday artwork and cards today at North Penn Manor.

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(c)2017 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

Visit The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at www.timesleader.com

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