Conner Klaft, 14, was working on his car project the other day at Springfield High School where he is a freshman.
But it wasn't your regular school shop class tools that he was using.
"I've used a sewing machine before, so now I am just honing my skills," said young Klaft of Springfield Township as he handled a piece of flannel fabric with images of what looked like race cars from the 1950s or 1960s. The cars were orange and the backdrop blue.
The boy was one of about 50 juniors, sophomores, and seniors in the school's career search/life skills class who have each bought about $10 worth of fabric and in the course of the past five weeks have each used sewing machines in the class to make two pillowcases to be donated to Toledo Children's Hospital and Mercy Health Partners hospitals, said Chris Shively, who teaches family and consumer sciences at Springfield High. In addition, 25 students volunteered, stopping by after classes to make pillowcases, she said.
"I think it would make the kids [at the hospitals] happy to know that somebody did this for them," young Klaft said.
The goal of the class project was to make 100 pillowcases by the end of last week, to be used by children who were diagnosed with cancer and children on an extended hospital stay, said Linda Bayer of Holland, local representative of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of ConKerr Cancer, an international charity with a mission to "help make hospital stays as pleasant as possible for chronically ill children."
The classroom project at Springfield High was a part of an international effort by thousands of volunteers who have made tens of thousands of cheerful pillow cases that are being distributed to hospitalized children through local chapters across North America and around the world, Ms. Bayer said. ConKerr Cancer was established in 2002 when Cindy Kerr started making colorful pillowcases for her son Ryan who was in the hospital, according to a charity flyer.
It takes a student between 90 minutes and three hours to make a single pillowcase, depending on the skills, Ms. Shively said, adding that she hopes that "this becomes an ongoing project."
"I told them [the students] to pick up the fabric that would be cheerful an that would also be the ones they like, hoping that children at the hospitals would enjoy the same patterns," she said.
Alongside young Klaft, Kennadee Ray, 14, also a freshman, was checking out a flannel pillowcase she had just finished. It sported a shark pattern -- blue sharks against the dark-blue backdrop.
"I love to sew," she said. "It's a chance to express my creativity and to help people."