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Eighth graders Cole Zellers, Athena Coman, and Connor Anderson work on a blanket Wednesday afternoon in Cindy Walker’s eighth grade advanced reading class.  The blankets will be taken to Norton Children’s Hospital next month.

Eighth grade students in Cindy Walker’s advanced reading class at Adair County Middle School are working to make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer.  As part of a lesson on the book “Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie,” which features a 5-year-old fighting leukemia and the class is currently reading, the students are making blankets to be delivered next month to patients at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville.

“We wanted to do something more meaningful than just a regular project for a grade,” Walker explains.  “I’ve been in touch with Norton’s to make sure we’re doing everything right, and we’re all going up there to deliver them at the end of April.  I planned on delivering them myself, but the students wouldn’t have it.  They said, ‘We’ll do fundraisers, we’ll raise the money, but we have to go.’  It just snowballed from there, and now we’re all going.”

The project has special meaning for the class, as one of its students – 14-year-old Connor Anderson – is a cancer survivor.  Connor has shared his experiences with the class and related his battle to that of the book’s character. 

“The students relate to both of the main characters,” Walker explains.  “The older brother is about their age, and they all know Connor, so they can relate to the patient as well.”

For his part, Connor likes the opportunity to share his story and shed more light on the book’s subject matter.  “It doesn’t bother me to talk about it,” Connor says.  “I think it’s pretty cool that everyone is reading the book so they will know what it’s like.”

The students are working together on the blankets, but one will be made for each student to deliver in Louisville, 27 in all.  Any money left over after all the supplies are bought will be spent on books for the patients at Norton’s.

“The students are so excited – we’re all excited,” Walker says.  “I don’t believe the stereotypes about middle schoolers.  These kids are awesome.  They have big hearts and they’re always willing to give and do for others.  It’s been perfect.”


Jade Gaudreau, Kristina Kirksey, and Katelyn Burriss make cuts and adjustments to a blanket Wednesday in their eighth grade advanced reading class.  The blankets – 27 in all – will be given to children battling cancer next month at Norton Children’s Hospital.



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