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First-Grade Students Make Unity Quilt

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Photo Credit: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Story originally published by The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

First-grade students are learning more than addition and subtraction during their school day, they’re learning the importance of unity.

Saundra Wimberley, a first-grade teach at an elementary school in Lubbock, Texas, has a long family history of quilt making. After most of her life spent with a needle and thread, she was inspired to implement the concept into her classroom by making a quilt with her students each year.

"The children of this generation have kind of lost the meaning of what a quilt is and what it was and how it was pieced together, because we buy things ready made," Saundra told The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

For the last 16 years, Saundra has requested each student bring in a piece of fabric that means something to him or her. She’s seen a handkerchief representing a student’s Chinese heritage, various sports teams, dresses, and even something as simple as solid fabric in the student’s favorite color.

"Last year I got [a piece of fabric] that was camouflage and I asked the kid, 'What does this mean to you? Are you a hunter?' and he said, 'No, I just like to play hide and seek.' That’s what that meant to him," Saundra said.

The purpose of the quilt is to teach the class a lesson on unity. By sewing each student’s individual pieces together, it shows them what it means to come together as one community. "When we entered first grade, we were all beautiful and energetic and individual works of art," Saundra said. "And look at us now, we’ve grown into a masterpiece of sharing and learning together."

Saundra brings in quilts that her and her ancestors have made for her students to read with so that they can experience her background as well. However, these quilts will never be as special to the first-grade class as their "Peace Quilt," a creation that symbolizes greatness in diversity.