Washington Middle School fifth- and sixth-grade students helped decorate their community by painting sport-orientated toy soldiers in the windows of the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame.
''I love to do artistic projects. I want to be an art teacher when I grow up. So I thought it sounded like a fun idea and it's good for students to do things for their community,'' Washington Middle School fifth-grader Alex Santiago said.
Randy Anderson from the Hall of Fame called Washington English Language Arts teacher Sara Joly to see if any students would be interested in painting the windows for the Jamestown Holiday Parade. Mrs. Joly and the students - Nate Beerbower, Alex Santiago, Alexis Abbey, Brendon Kruse, Tah Jay Joyner, Elijah Pierson and Erik Nollinger - came up with the sports-themed toy soldiers and included the armed forces to correspond with the parade theme. For two weeks before and after school, and during supervisory time, students painted football, hockey, baseball and soccer life-sized toy solders.
''Jamestown is a small but very special community,'' said Mrs. Joly. ''I want my students to appreciate all that we have to offer as well as participate and take on a sense of ownership in our community. I believe that we can begin to develop active and responsible citizens at a young age in hopes that it will carry through adulthood in our community. At a young age we often are given many things. I like to teach my students to appreciate the things they are given and attempt to give back.''