Lily Kangas initially began making masks for her classroom of grade 2 and 3 students at Parkland Public School, but the long-time educator and quilter decided to keep on going.
The end result was enough masks - and then some - for the entire school.
Kangas says the masks were distributed to all students during the first week of class. In all Kangas hand-crafted 200 masks, far exceeding the student population at the east-end school.
“I gave the kids in my class their masks, and I’d given them to the teachers just before school started - in baggies, and that way each class had their own colour of mask,” she said.
Kangas says the masks came in two sizes in order to accommodate all students.
“I wanted to make sure that everybody was feeling comfortable and safe to be at school,” she said. “The big kids have to wear masks, but the little kids, I want them to want to - and that way, everybody stays safe.”
The masks were made by Kangas over the summer, using top-quality quilting fabric from her own collection.
“Quilters are collectors of fabric,” she said with a laugh. “I have quite an extensive fabric collection at my house, and I thought this was a great way to share and to make something useful.”
Parkland Public School Principal Krista Lappage says Kargas's gesture is part and parcel of the sense of community within the school.
"She's just such a part of our school community, and when she told me she did it, I wasn't at all surprised because I know that's how she thinks of every student in our building - that they're all our students," Lappage said.
Kangas tells SooToday that all of the teachers at Parkland are doing creative things to make this year safe and fun for students, from teaching more lessons outside to incorporating nature into the curriculum.
She says that setting examples of good character for the students is another way in which to teach them.
“It’s important to be a helper and demonstrate good character, which is a big thing in the school and the school board,” Kangas said.