Indianapolis Teacher Brings Kindness and Cheer to 650 Students With Handmade Scarves

Larry Palmer, Manasseh Smith and Ti’miya Summers, kindergarten students at Lew Wallace School 107, wearing scarves made by Jeffrey Thomas. Thomas, a special education teacher, made scarves for all 600 students at the school.
(Photo: Photo provided by Jeffrey Thomas)

Jeffrey Thomas wanted to do something nice for his students.

In his first year at Lew Wallace School 107, the special education teacher said his fellow teachers and their students took him in. They made him part of the family, Thomas said.

His students often arrive in near-freezing temperatures dressed in nothing more than a sweatshirt, so Jeffrey Thomas wanted to do something nice for them.

“Scarves,” he thought.

Nearly 650 of them.

Over a few months, Thomas clipped coupons and shopped Black Friday sales at fabric stores. He went through two cutting mats, several pairs of scissors and cut more than 100 yards of fabric down into eight-inch wide fleece scarves. He made them in more than 50 patterns, so the kids would have a choice.

Earlier this week, Thomas handed out a scarf to all 600-plus students at the elementary school.

Sha’Unnah McWhirter picked out one that was pink, yellow, blue, teal with a little bit a white. A pretty plaid piece of fleece, the first-grader had it wrapped around her neck two days later as she headed to lunch.

“It’s kind of like a rainbow,” she said.

The school held an assembly, talked to the kids about kindness and then Thomas, wearing one of his scarves, told the room full of students they’d all be getting one too.

“I felt like Oprah,” Thomas said. “You get a scarf, you get a scarf, you get a scarf.”

He had all the scarves lined up, by pattern, on shelves and tables in his classroom and let each students come in — five at a time — and “shop.”

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SOURCE: USA Today, Arika Herron