Surprise! 3rd graders make quilt for teacher

Published 12:55 am Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rosemary Mills, Amber Clark, Kaylee Murphy

Rosemary Mills, Amber Clark, Kaylee Murphy

When Kaylee Murphy visited her mom, Heather, at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce during the Smithsonian Way We Worked exhibit, she was inspired.

A group of students had made a quilt for the event. She thought her class could make one, too, as a gift for their teacher, Amber Clark.

The third grader – called Murphy by most of her friends – had just received a sewing machine for Christmas. With a little help from her nanna, Rosemary Mills, making a quilt was a possibility.

“We got some squares,” Murphy explained, “and we did handprints and pictures.”

But, they set out to keep their project a secret. With the help of Murphy’s mom and classmate Connor Dalton’s mom, Tara, the squares were done on a day the third graders had a substitute.

“Miss Clark told us she would be out,” Murphy explained. “We kept them in Mrs. (Beth) Weed’s room.”

Murphy’s grandmother helped her piece the squares together, and in the past two weeks, the two quilted it by hand.

And somehow, a room full of third graders managed to keep it is secret. Sort of.

“It is so hard to keep a secret in third grade,” Clark laughed on Wednesday. “I knew they did something, because the next day, several of them said, ‘We made you something, Miss Clark.’

“I have two high school students who come and help in my classroom, and my students whispered loudly to them, ‘We made Miss Clark a blanket.’ ”

Each of the squares created by her students is special, but one made her literally laugh.

“Dear Miss Clark, You have taught me a lot this year. You are one of the nicest teachers I’ve had. Sometimes I disrespect you. And I will do better. Love, Christian,” painted Christian Walker. The teacher said she laughed because Christian is a well-behaved third grader.

Clark, who is completing her second year in the classroom, said she had a good class this year, and had great support from their parents.

“Basically, I’ve been in third grade at Andalusia Elementary all my life,” she said. Her mother, Judy Clark, also was an AES third grade teacher, and Clark spent many hours at the school with her mom.

The class quilt is just one of Murphy’s projects since Christmas. She said she’s also made a doll’s bed, and a pillow for her mom.