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Students brighten the holidays


By Jason Gabak, Skaneateles Press

Most any time even a small gesture can make a big difference in the life of a family or individual.
This is a lesson State Street teacher Heather Buff has seen firsthand and is a lesson she has worked to share with the students who pass through the halls of State Street.
For the past six years students from each class have created miniature Christmas trees which are donated to less fortunate families.
Buff found the inspiration for this project from her own life.
“My husband’s grandmother was in an assisted living facility and we brought her a little tree,” Buff said. “For the people there it was something special and the idea kind of grew from there.”
Buff said Principal Steve Widrick has been very supportive of this project, going so far as to donate the funds used to purchase the trees
It is an idea students over the past several years have taken to whole heatedly.
For the past week the cafeteria at State Street has been adorned with the trees, displaying the unique approach each class took.
From trees adorned with candy to trees strung with handmade decorations, students were able to bring their own approach to the decorating.
“It is completely up to each class,” Buff said. “They can do pretty much anything they want. Each class is different. I think we have 18 this year and you can see each one is different. There are no rules. Each one is different and unique.”
Buff said over the past few years the trees have been donated to the food pantry and are then distributed to families and individuals serviced by the food pantry.
This added an extra dimension to each tree for the students and teachers alike.
“I think that is the best part,” Buff said. “The kids know this is going to help someone have a little nicer Christmas. They get really excited about doing this, but I think they realize just how much this means to the people who get these trees and it makes it that much more important to them.”
Students from Kathy Hare’s third grade class helped create a tree that they gave a very personal touch.
The students explained they decorated their tree with ornaments but also took the time to craft small cards and write notes wishing the recipient of their tree Merry Christmas and other seasonal sentiments.
“We just wanted to wish people a happy holiday,” Darby Ryan said.
She was joined by several of her classmates in pointing out their tree.
“It was a lot of fun,” Kelsey Coyne said. “It was really great to make. We had a lot of fun doing it.”
Students like Landon Estes and Jackson Bone also took part in making a tree.
“Some of the decorations are handmade,” Bone said. “I think it came out good. We were happy to do it.”
As enjoyable as the decorating was, they agreed there was much more to it than just having fun putting decorations together.
“It feels good,” Estes said. “I’m happy we can do this for people who don’t have Christmas trees.”
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Lynda Quick
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152