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John Marshall Students Paint Pumpkins for Local Nursing Home Residents

Photo by Derek Redd From left, John Marshall High School juniors Sierra Stanley, Asia Bogard and Hiram Pelley paint pumpkins that will be delivered to residents at Elmhurst and Good Shepherd Nursing Home. The students are part of the Health Occupation Students of America club at the high school.

GLEN DALE — A group of John Marshall High School students got creative with pumpkins both big and small on Friday, turning them into Halloween decorations that will be a treat for residents of local long-term care facilities.

Members of JMHS’ Health Occupation Students of America club broke out paints and brushes and dolled up pumpkins of various sizes. The finished products would go to Elmhurst and Good Shepherd Nursing Home to liven up their facilities this Halloween.

John Marshall teacher Lora Kull said the project was used in previous years as a getting-to-know-you exercise for students in the school’s health occupation classes. Now residents at the local nursing homes will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“I think we’ll continue to do it,” Kull said.

Senior Hope Yoho said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tougher at times for nursing home residents to welcome visitors.

“It’s obviously a really difficult time,” she said. “And these people kind of feel stuck where they’re at. This makes them feel a little more like they’re at home.”

Some students grabbed big pumpkins and used the whole gourd as a canvas, turning them into a variety of Halloween monsters. Others painted pumpkins with themes like breast cancer awareness. Some grabbed tiny pumpkins and painted a myriad of designs.

The JM health occupation students also have not been able to work in the long-term care facilities recently due to the pandemic, so painting and delivering these pumpkins was a way for them to connect with the residents there, letting them know they’re still on the student’s minds.

“I think it’s very important for the residents to know that their community is still supporting them even through the pandemic,” senior Taylor Wood said, “and it’s really helpful that we’re younger students and I think they’ll be happy to know we’re thinking about them.”

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