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Kid power

For months, two first-grade classes at Essrig Elementary have been hard at work on a service project to benefit the kids at the local Shriners Hospital for Children. And it paid off Tuesday morning when the students delivered toys and presents to the children.

First-grade teachers Lisa Pennington and Marjie Borelli designed the project and helped their students execute it.

First, the students created artwork on the school theme, "Essrig Kids Are Out of This World." Then, the teachers selected four of the pictures and used the designs to create silk-screened T-shirts.

"We had a contest from all the first-grade classes and we all drew a picture about space," said 6-year-old Morgan Herrig.

Students sold the shirts throughout the school and at home for $10 each. With the profits, the classes went to a local Wal-Mart store to shop for presents for the Shriners kids.

"We had kind of a scavenger hunt," Pennington said. "Shriners gave us a wish list."

"We bought them stuff that would make them happy and make them feel like they were home," said first-grader Drew Turner.

The big moment came Tuesday morning when the Essrig students get to hand-deliver the gifts to the children at the hospital.

Gifts included an 'NSync CD, a Play-Doh Fun Factory, a Glamour Gear bead set, and a black purse, each labeled for a designated child.

The hospital is one of 22 Shriners facilities offering specialized treatment, at no cost, for children suffering from burns, orthopedic deformities, injuries and disease of the bones, joints and muscles.

Pennington said her students understand that the hospitalized children are "just like them, but they also know these children have possible birth defects or injuries and they're here to heal."

Some of that healing took place through the simple interaction among the children. Sitting in his wheelchair, 10-year-old Noel Young appreciated the CD given to him by Drew Turner and Quinn Sahler. But what was really fun was the spontaneous game of "rock, paper, scissors" they played until it was time to go.

_ Logan D. Mabe can be reached at 269-5304 or at