OCHS special services class learns life skills through Valentine’s craft

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Cindy Nevitt / Students in the Life Skills class at Ocean City High School – from left, Derek Frasca, Stephen Schuler, Sydney Lagerholm, Dillon Haskins and Joey Parral – are selling Valentine and St. Patrick’s Day crafts during community lunch with the goal of raising enough money to treat themselves to lunch at a restaurant in town. Cindy Nevitt / Students in the Life Skills class at Ocean City High School – from left, Derek Frasca, Stephen Schuler, Sydney Lagerholm, Dillon Haskins and Joey Parral – are selling Valentine and St. Patrick’s Day crafts during community lunch with the goal of raising enough money to treat themselves to lunch at a restaurant in town.

OCEAN CITY – When the students in the life skills class at Ocean City High School make a planned visit to a restaurant in town later this school year, it will be for a lunch they’ve earned.

The five students in the class, whose curriculum includes essential life lessons in addition to English, science and social studies, hope to earn $120 from the sale of Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s crafts, which they started selling during community lunch the week of Jan. 21.

The money raised from the sale of pink bookmarks, teddy bear note holders, green shamrock pins and other student-made crafts will be used to pay for their lunch outing.

“This goes for both math and food, because the money we make is going to pay for food,” said teacher Lisa O’Neill of the lessons learned from the project.

O’Neill teaches special education math and food classes four days a week to the life skills students.

The class, along with aides Ron Ewing, Maria Mateer and Patty Richards, plans to walk to a restaurant on Asbury Avenue, where the students will order their food and pay for it with their earnings, O’Neill explained. Life skills student Joey Parral frequently shows a card that symbolizes “restaurant” to his teachers, classroom aides and classmates, an indication of his excitement over the planned outing.

Although it is billed as a lunch trip, Stephen Schuler said he plans to order pancakes. Classmate Derek Frasca is sticking to conventional midday fare, and said he is looking forward to enjoying a cheese steak.

O’Neill, a longtime substitute teacher who moved into her current position at the start of 2013, said the five Valentine’s and five St. Patrick’s crafts the students and their aides made were chosen for two reasons: They were easy to assemble, and they’re practical and fun to own. All but one of the crafts were priced at $1.

“The idea is to be self-sufficient,” O’Neill said of the crafts project, which also includes lessons in banking, inventorying and cataloging. “The money they raise is for the life skill of going to a restaurant, which includes ordering, socializing and tipping.”

All the students have participated in the selling of the crafts, with Dillon Haskins often acting as cashier and counting out the change. Sydney Lagerholm is charged with keeping track of how many of each craft sells daily.

O’Neill said she plans to hold another craft sale for Easter and Mother’s Day, and to use the earnings from that sale to fund another restaurant trip. In addition to providing the money to pay their lunch tab, the crafts project allows the students to practice such fine-motor skills as gluing, taping and assembling.

“The life skills curriculum is designed to incorporate essential skills the students will need for life after high school,” said Matthew Carey, director of the Ocean City Special Services Department. “It is so rewarding to see the pride our students take in making these crafts. This is a real-world experience for them and they will see the fruits of their labor when they go out for a well-earned lunch.”

Gazette readers interested in purchasing a Valentine’s or St. Patrick’s Day craft from the life skills class can email O’Neill at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Among the crafts are teddy bear note holders, backed by a clothes pin with a magnetic strip so the craft can be displayed on a refrigerator or metal filing cabinet. Among the crafts are teddy bear note holders, backed by a clothes pin with a magnetic strip so the craft can be displayed on a refrigerator or metal filing cabinet.


blog comments powered by Disqus