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Marysville students continue holiday tradition

Marysville-Pilchuck High School DECA student Logan Smith, center, joins M-PHS Life Skills students Bethany Anick, left, and Chris Baker as they make their own Christmas ornaments. - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville-Pilchuck High School DECA student Logan Smith, center, joins M-PHS Life Skills students Bethany Anick, left, and Chris Baker as they make their own Christmas ornaments.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Ever since 1993 the students of Marysville-Pilchuck High School have done their best to make the students and teachers of the school’s Life Skills classes feel appreciated, and on Dec. 16 this annual holiday tradition continued with festive flair.

M-PHS sophomore Kaelah Dahl chaired this year’s Life Skills holiday party and explained that between the school’s DECA membership and marketing classes, close to 100 students helped put together the event for the benefit of the nearly 50 special education students in the school’s Life Skills program.

“It can be difficult sometimes to thank these teachers and praise their students for all the good that they do,” Dahl said. “When you boost their morale, it helps everyone out.”

While Life Skills students Devan Shimabukuro and Chrissy Blake proudly made personalized picture frames out of arts and crafts items supplied by DECA students, who wore seasonal attire ranging from reindeer antlers to elf costumes, fellow Life Skills students Bethany Anick and Chris Baker made Christmas ornaments for the Merrill Gardens Retirement Community. Life Skills student Fernando Venegas, not content merely to create a more simple artistic design for his ornament, drew a detailed portrait of Lady Gaga.

Other Life Skills students worked diligently on coloring sheets with their crayons, while everyone in attendance enjoyed sweets and refreshments.

“We got juice boxes for the Life Skills students and cookies for their teachers, who do so much,” Dahl said. “My mom donated a whole bunch of cupcakes, and we all got candy canes.”

The students who put together the party even set up a photogenic backdrop for portraits of the Life Skills students, many of whom wanted to have their pictures taken with Santa Claus as soon as he arrived. True to character, Santa came to the party bearing gifts for the Life Skills students who’d been signed up to receive presents.

“It’s been my experience at Marysville-Pilchuck that the Life Skills students are really welcomed with open arms by the other students at this school,” Life Skills teacher Jim Strickland said. “They’re not teased or discriminated against here. This party is a manifestation of that atmosphere of acceptance.”

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