Kindergarten children with quilts - (standing, left to right) Arlinee Villa, Vladimir Mendoza, Samantha Tapia, Sheillimar Davila and Dagaira Lights; (seated, left to right) Cesa Pena, Erick Miguel, Anthony Aponte and Salvador Munoz.

Quilters - (standing, left to right) Shirley Minch, Diane Schneider, Shirley Newbould, Terry Wagner, Debra Radzinski, Kelly Peruszzini, Roz Smith and Lucille Ribble; (seated, left to right) Carole Patterson, Hope Telovsky, Betty Gleason, Dee Wolfe and Judy Manley.

Quilters create special gifts for students

Kaleidoscopical fabrics and beaming smiles made the gifting of 36 naptime quilts to kindergarten and first grade students, "the most colorful of moments" in Betty Svitavsky's tenure as principal of the Brockport Migrant Education Project summer school at Nativity School in Brockport. The presentation of the 36 quilts was an Orleans County Quilt Guild community service project. Several members of the Hilton Heart and Hand Quilting Club and a couple non-guild member friends also provided quilts.

Janet Root, president of the Orleans group and Kendall resident, first suggested the project from her experience as a former teacher for the school. Principal Svitavsky was invited to the May Guild meeting to share information about the school and the children attending. Not only did she inspire the quilters about their project, but also encouraged them to be there when the children received the quilts. She also suggested that they add 'Made especially for ... ' labels to each quilt, which they did both in Spanish and English.

It was hard to tell which group was the most excited on June 30 when the quilters allowed the children to each pick out their own quilts from the beautiful array. Once chosen, the quilters and teachers helped to see that the name of each child was put on their own special quilt. The enthusiasm and appreciation were evident as the children raced around looking over all the quilts, which had been spread out on the floor. Invariably each child wrapped him or herself up in the one they chose.

"What made this project so special," Janet Root said, "is that many of the women involved with the project could actually see the children getting the quilts." Comfort blanket projects usually go to hospitals or shelters, making it impossible for the quilters to get together with the recipients.

Kindergarten teacher Connie Castaneda confirmed that the children are delighted with their quilts, as she displayed the cubbies where the blankets will be stored. Principal Svitasky also assured the children that they would be permitted to take them home at the end of the summer session. Sr. Beverly Baker, director of the Migrant Education Project, added her appreciation of the project. "What a wonderful way to be welcomed to school. Especially for those that are experiencing school for the first time." She also noted that several of the quilters had been staff members in the past and how often people formerly involved with the program, as students or staff, keep giving to it in one way or another.

Quilters able to be present were Betty Gleason, Judy Manley, Shirley Newbould, Kelly Peruzzini, Carole Patterson, Debra Radzinski, Lucille Ribble, Diane Schneider, Roz Smith, Hope Telovsky, Terry Wagner and Dee Wolfe.