Bellefontaine Examiner

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Merry Mac-A-Cheek Christmas!

Scholars create snowman float


FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Barb Butler, on the ground, assists Mac-A-Cheek Learning Center students with hanging tinsel on a float Thursday afternoon in preparation for the 2012 Logan County Hometown Christmas Parade. Their float also features snowmen stuffed with recycled shredded paper, candy canes made from recycled carpet tubes and a banner wishing parade-goers a “Merry Mac-A-Cheek Christmas!” ABOVE: Students hoist a collage banner created with recycled magazine clippings. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR)

Hard-working students at Mac-A-Cheek Learning Center hammered banners in place, strung tinsel and decked out snowmen with hats and gloves Thursday while putting the finishing touches on their float for Saturday’s Logan County Hometown Christmas Parade.

About a dozen pupils have put in several weeks of dedicated efforts to create the winter scene for the parade, that begins at noon Saturday at the Logan County Fairground and proceeds to downtown Bellefontaine.

Barb Butler, a teacher’s aide at the school, said she had the idea to enter the parade float as a way for students to strive toward something positive and to get rid of negative stereotypes.

“Sometimes it seems like people in the community might have a bad impression of our students, or they might not know that we are in existence here at all,” Mrs. Butler said of the school at 401 E. Pine Ave. that is operated by the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center.

“Our kids need to be recognized for something good. We’ve wanted to show the community that we have great kids here.”

Mrs. Butler and teacher Robyn Wunderle have organized the parade float with a group of students designated as “scholars” at the school, or those who have earned the highest behavioral privileges. They range in age from 6 through 18.

In addition to this most recent project, Mac-A-Cheek Learning Center scholars have been reaching out to area residents in other ways this fall, such as cleaning up brush at the Kirkmont Center.

As for the parade float, the participants spent about four days a week after lunch assembling various components for their piece.

Snowmen were constructed by stuffing white trash bags full of recycled materials like shredded paper from the school. Stick hands were added to the snowmen, along with hats, gloves and scarves and paper cut-outs for snowmen eyes and mouths.

In addition, much time was spent creating a collage backdrop for the float with recycled magazine clippings. Through the careful placement of the clippings, the students created a colorful winter scene featuring another snowman and the words “Let It Snow.”

Candy canes also were made for the float by painting red stripes on cardboard carpet tubing.

Thursday, the students saw all of their efforts come to life when they carried their snowmen and other materials outside to an awaiting trailer.

Another staff member, Larry Dagger, created wooden platforms for the snowmen on the float and also supported the snowmen with additional carpet tubing.

Students who have parental permission will ride on the float during the parade, which assembles at the fairground from 11 to 11:30 a.m.

A banner hanging from both sides of their float will pass along their wishes to parade-goers for a “Merry Mac-A-Cheek Christmas!”

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