Eliot HAND Students Mask Young Cantabrigians
Last Friday afternoon, the Fletcher Elementary School was home to a menagerie of exotic animals rarely found outside of a rain forest.
Members of Eliot House House and. Neighborhood Development (HAND) traveled to the Central Square school to help 32 students make animal masks for the Arts First parade on Mass. Ave. Saturday morning.
Eliot House One Shot Coordinator Deborah C. Yeh '99 said that students were pleased to hear the parade was to be led by John Lithgow '67 and Bonnie Raitt '72.
But when Yeh told them that Curious George was also going to be present, their eyes opened in amazement.
According to students participating in the program, mask making is "phat."
"I am going to be a cheetah," said Reggie, age five. "No, no, I want to be a golden cheetah."
Reggie's choice was met with approval by his friend Erle, who chose to be a panther.
After the masks were finished, students played outside while pretending to be the animals on their masks.
Students who participated in the mask masking were members of three different after-school programs run under the supervision of the school.
The first group is the Fletcher Community School Enrichment Program, which offers classes in art, athletics and music.
The program is designed to broaden students' interest while providing a safe after-school environment, said the program's director, Patricia Bradshaw.
"We hire teachers with different skills from outside the school, and the children really love to see them come," she said.
The program shares space with the After-School School Age program, which provides care for children ages five to seven.
The smallest contingent of mask-makers was a group of Brownies affiliated with the Girl Scouts of America.
Yeh, who is also a Brownie leader, said that being able to spend time with the children was her motivation for leading the project.
"I think it is important to work with the girls because we can provide an older female role model, even if we are only college students," she said.