Hooray For Alice Smith, The 90-Year-Old Hoosier Who Crocheted 300 Hats For Every Kid At Middlebury Elementary
Hooray for Alice Smith, the 90-Year-Old Hoosier Who Crocheted 300 Hats For Every Kid at Middlebury Elementary
This article is part of a series at The Seventy Four that highlights the courageous acts, achievements, success stories, and acts of kindness that can be found in schools all across America. For more uplifting stories like this, visit The74million.org/series/inspiring.
Last summer, Alice Butler Smith, a 90-year-old woman, came up with the idea of making hats for the students at Middlebury Elementary School. Despite the sweltering temperatures, she began crocheting hats using colorful yarn. She skillfully crafted 300 hats over a period of six months – one for each of the school’s 294 students, as well as a few staff members.
Butler Smith crocheted every day, sometimes making one or two hats, and occasionally working diligently to produce three hats in a day. In an interview with the Goshen News, she revealed her process of combining different colors to create unique hats, hoping that they would bring joy to those who received them. She explained, "I love giving the hats to people who smile."
To ensure that each hat was distinct, Butler Smith purposefully designed them in various patterns. This deliberate choice will be helpful when the young students inevitably misplace their hats, as each one will be easily identifiable. First-grade teacher Joseph Parks expressed his excitement to his students, explaining that "not a single hat is the same" and that although some may share the same color, their designs are truly unique. He added that hanging the hats in the hallway will be a great way for everyone to find their own hat without confusion.
During the visit to the school, Butler Smith and the children engaged in a reading session of "The Mitten Tree" by Candace Christiansen. This heartwarming story revolves around an elderly woman who knits mittens for a boy she sees at a bus stop. She hangs the mittens on a tree nearby for him to discover. The students listened attentively as Parks read the story to them.
After the reading, it was time for the students to choose a hat. Carrie Mullet, a 7-year-old student, carefully considered her options and ultimately chose a lavender hat with white stripes. When asked about her choice, she said, "They are all so pretty, but I love this color." In gratitude, the students gifted Butler Smith a basket full of yarn.
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