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Au Sable Forks Elementary students sell ornaments to help peers

Luis Perez, Dillon Goodrow and Autumn LaBrake present a check to Cynthia Murphy, second from right, for the annual Jay and Black Brook toy drive.

Luis Perez, Dillon Goodrow and Autumn LaBrake present a check to Cynthia Murphy, second from right, for the annual Jay and Black Brook toy drive.

— A trio of sixth grade students at AuSable Forks Elementary School wanted to make sure that children in their community were the recipients of a present this Christmas.

The students, Luis Perez, Dillon Goodrow and Autumn LaBrake, recently presented a check for $196 to Cindy Murphy of the M&M Diner in Au Sable Forks to go towards the annual Jay and Black Brook town toy drive.

The students made the money by selling wooden Christmas tree ornaments to their peers at the school.

AFES pirncipal Ginene Mason said the tree was set up as a memory tree two years ago.

“We lost a student a couple of years ago around Thanksgiving and together we came up with the idea of a memory tree,” Mason said. “The project has been championed by the kids ever since.”

Mason said that Perez, Goodrow and LaBrake were the three students who helped lead the fundraiser.

“They are three very active kids that do some wonderful things at school,” she said. “We wanted to keep the fundraising local so we decided to give to the local toy drive. Once the money was collected, the kids and I walked it over and presented the check to Cindy.”

They received help from Forrence Orchards, the family-owned nursery who donated the applewood to make the ornaments. The wood was then cut by members of Rick Rondeau’s high school technology class. Teachers, led by fifth grade instructor Tammy Forrence, teacher coordinator for the project whose family owns the orchard, helped decorate the ornaments to represent the colleges that had been adopted by each classroom for the school year.

“She does a lot of hard work to help design and make the ornaments,” Mason said.

The ornaments were then sold to students in the school and were hung on the school tree through Dec. 20, when the students took them home prior to the Christmas break.

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