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Teens-N-Tots visit FCHS masonry's Christmas houses project

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Jessica Leftwich’s Teens-N-Tots (TNT) class was invited by Travis Sigmon’s masonry students to tour the class’s Christmas houses.

At Franklin County High School, big kids and little kids learn from one another. This was evidenced recently when Jessica Leftwich’s Teens-N-Tots (TNT) class was invited by Travis Sigmon’s masonry students to tour the class’s Christmas houses.

Sigmon shared more about the project and the responses it elicited. “Our little Christmas setup was really built by accident. Students had constructed two arch walls and we converted them into small houses. In the process we decided to build a brick Christmas tree. Christina Garrett took it upon herself to build the tree. From there we were able to find some Christmas lights to decorate each house and the tree. The projects took about two to three weeks to complete.

We normally have the teens and tots over once a year and the masonry students get to show the kids a little bit about laying brick. That gave us the idea to invite the teens and tots program back for a Christmas pass through.

As a class, we were able to have a stocking with some gifts for each kid. For me, my first thought to the reactions the kids gave was you would have thought the kids were playing in the McDonald’s play house. We haven’t been able to work on some of our jobs we have in the community yet this year, so this was a great way to give back to the community from within.”

Sigmon’s students commented on the experience. Junior Christina Garrett, (who is also in the TNT class), said, “I loved seeing the brick Christmas tree light up.”

Sophomore Chris Jordan said, “It was fun building and learning different masonry styles and sharing with the kids.”

For those in the community not familiar with TNT, Leftwich described it. “Teen-N-Tots is a preschool program for children in our community and Early Childhood Education (ECE) students here at FCHS. The teen teachers get hands-on experience working with children and planning activities that prepare the children for PreK or Kindergarten. Many ECE students in this course and program choose a career teaching or working with children. Tots who are three years old and potty trained may attend Teens-N-Tots.”

Leftwich described the reactions and responses from the tots. “The tots loved their [masonry students] creations. They enjoyed all the lights, their stockings (which included candy and playdoh), going into the rooms and looking through windows!”

Catie Altice, a sophomore, said, “The tots seemed really surprised and the teens were just as surprised as the tots were. Everyone was very appreciative for all the work the masonry class had put in.”

Gabriella Hart, a senior, said, “The tots were ecstatic and really enjoyed playing in the different houses and opening their stockings! I think the teens were equally as impressed with the skills of the masonry students and we are grateful that they invited us.”

Leftwich commented on the experience by saying, “I was very impressed by the creativity and skill Mr. Sigmon’s masonry students put into their Christmas display. It was so kind of them to think of inviting us over to see it. They even took the time to hang and fill stockings for the tots!”

For the masonry students, it was a fun opportunity to showcase the skills they are learning as well as to interact with and give to the little ones.

For the TNT class, it was a fun field trip across campus to see the big kids and it tied in nicely with the Christmas season.

Leftwich said TNT loves the resources and support it receives from the FCHS campus and that it often collaborates with other classes. “During career week, we visited Mr. Sigmon’s masonry class and his students helped the tots build their own walls with ‘mortar’ and bricks. Then of course, they got to kick it over!”

Franklin County High School’s Career Technical Education program serves its students and the community. Students gain skills to go out and be ready to work in the community and in the case of TNT, the community is offered a preschool program.

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