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Butler elementary students celebrate Valentine’s Day

Hannah Motonis, 10, and Jameson Spinuzza, 9, work on pastel color heart projects in fourth-grade art class at Center Township Elementary School in Center Township on Tuesday. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle
Crafts and kindness emphasized

Hearts will be fluttering through the halls of Center Township Elementary School in February.

Holly Wilson, art teacher at Center Township Elementary, said every grade level is taking on a project involving hearts not only to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but also to learn about pop art.

Kindergarten and first-graders are doing paintings featuring hearts, while second-grade students are working on weaving paper to make a heart.

Third-grade students are learning how to cut hearts out of paper, and fourth-grade students did some work using a ruler, and they created a grid on a paper, on which their heart will be in the center.

Fifth-grade is also doing some ruler work, making a radial design to make it look like a heart is bursting, Wilson said.

“We have a lot going on,” Wilson said. “I'll probably display some of them up in the hallways.”

Wilson said the holiday gives her the chance to teach young children about pop art, and she was inspired by artists who depict hearts in their pieces for different effects.

Michael McCandless, 9, colors his art project heart in fourth-grade art class at Center Township Elementary School Tuesday. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle

“I presented it more, not as a Valentine's Day project, more like things pop artists would use and things that represent a heart,” Wilson said. “A heart doesn’t just mean ‘mushy gushy love,’ it can also represent a feeling of things you like and things that you're really interested in.”

Other elementary schools in Butler Area School District celebrate the love theme of Valentine’s Day all month long.

Lexi Madden, 9, colors her art project heart in fourth-grade art class at Center Township Elementary School Tuesday. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle

Hope Hull, principal of Connoquenessing Elementary School, said the school had its first “Kindness Month” in February 2021, as a way to promote kindness among students and the staff. That tradition has continued, and the elementary school staff are preparing to center lessons to students around kindness in February.

“Every week there is a different theme, and the classrooms have a series of different lessons that revolve around kindness and kindness toward others, not just inside the classroom but in the community,” Hull said.

Northwest Elementary School also has a “Kindness Week,” which will culminate in a bulletin board filled with examples of acts of kindness performed by students throughout February.

Matt Martinez, principal of Northwest, said one way the students will spread kindness this month is by writing cards to community workers.

From left, Juliette Miller and Jonathan Elder, fourth-graders at Center Township Elementary School, use pastel chalks to fill in color on a heart project Tuesday. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle

“The classes took on a secret mission of spreading kindness,” Martinez said. “We were looking to spreading kindness to the community, firemen, volunteer fire department, just have a kind message.”

Martinez said the people who have received cards from Northwest Elementary students in the past have been appreciative of their work.

“There's volunteers or people who work challenging jobs, health care is one we thought of,” Martinez said. “Just getting a card from a little kid sometimes puts a smile on your face.”

Kindness Month at Connoquenessing Elementary will culminate in the creation of a quilt by every homeroom, the squares of which will be made up of examples of kindness the students performed throughout the month. Once they are complete, all of the quilts will be sewn together and displayed in the hallways of Connoquenessing Elementary.

Hull said she has noticed that Kindness Week has made a difference with students and their attitudes toward altruism. She said she hopes to see the same effect throughout February.

“We have noticed a difference in the way students interact with each other — they are more aware of what kindness looks like,” Hull said. “My goal is to make a difference in the children's lives, and have them build something they can take into the world when they leave Connoquenessing.”

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