Classes bond over quilting

May 7, 2009 — by Lauren Kuan and Apeksha Sharma
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Garcia's quilt

If there was only one symbol that you could choose to represent yourself, what would it be?

This is the one question that faced most of Genevieve Garcia’s Chemistry Honors students. Garcia offers extra credit to students who make their own personal quilt square which she will later sew together into a quilt and hang around her classroom.

Garcia enjoys quilting in her free time to relieve her stress and thought that it would be a great idea to start a tradition of making class quilts. She began this annual tradition in 2000, after what had been a tragic school year for students, and has continued offer the assignment throughout the years, accumulating eight quilts in the process.

“We had a really bad year where some students died,” said Garcia. “It was just a really ugly, stressful time and I wanted to give students a way to focus on something other than school.”

The quilt symbolizes what students like to do or something that identifies who they are.

“I decided it would be nice to have some sort of symbol that represents them so that they will stay in my classroom after they’ve left and graduated,” said Garcia.

Students are required to follow strict guidelines such as only using washable paints and having a one-inch border. If students do not obey these rules, their quilt square will not be included in the quilt.

“I’m really strict with the rules because one year the quilt squares got caught in my machine and ended up breaking it,” said Garcia.

If the students follow the requirements, they will be given five extra credit points accredited to their overall grade. They are not given any class time to work on their quilt squares, and the assignment is optional.

Current sophomore Chemistry Honors student Tim Lycurgus and Chris Chung will personalize their quilts by using the motto When we have chemistry tests; we count sheep to fall asleep.

“We got blue fabric with sheep all over it and markers so we can write on it,” said Lycurgus. “We are going to write our names and our year because we have to and I’ll probably write my awesome nicknames.”

Past students have come back and visited Garcia to find their quilt square still hanging on the wall.

“It was interesting to see all of our quilt squares sewn together and hung up on the wall. The quilt reminded me of all the good memories of my high school years,” said alumna Aashima Sharma.

“I still think it is important for students to recognize that there is life other than school, and this gives them a little bit of a chance to think about who they really are,” said Garcia.

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