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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Holladay Teacher Brings Christmas To The Classroom

Nov 28, 2014 03:37PM ● By Marci Heugly

McKayla Heath, Kaylene White, Rachel Miller, Brin Douglas and Taylor Hekking work together to create a gingerbread house.

Holladay resident Kaylene White loves her job as a teacher at the Jordan Applied Technology Center.  This year, it’s really helping her get in the Christmas spirit as she helps the 19 members of her teacher education class decorate and donate a Christmas tree and a gingerbread house to the Festival of Trees.

“Because this is a teacher education program, and because these students want to be either general or special education teachers, and because this helps Primary Children’s Hospital, that’s a great connection,” White said. “We decided to do this as part of our FCCLA service project.”

All 19 are members of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
Kaylene White’s teacher education students at the Jordan Applied Technology Center are donating a tree and a gingerbread house to this year’s Festival of Trees.

The white Christmas tree entitled “Candy Cane Christmas” will be decorated in red, white and green decorations and will be surrounded by a big candy cane fence. The gingerbread house, made by four of the students, will be called “The Candy Cane Palace,” and will share the color scheme of the tree. Both will be available for purchase at the Festival of Trees at the South Towne Expo Center Dec. 3-6.

The students met at White’s Holladay home to bake and assemble the gingerbread house.

“We voted on doing a gingerbread house, so we got put in charge of doing it,” Rachel Miller said of their cinnamon-scented creation. “We’re going to see if we can keep it together with hot glue, but it will definitely smell good.” 

The students each made a batch of gingerbread and donated bags of candy to use for decoration.

“She is awesome,” Rachel said about White. “For the gingerbread house, she said, ‘I’ll supply the place. You guys come over and we’ll make it together.’”

The small group laughed and joked as they cooked batch after batch of gingerbread to get the house just right. 

The tree was also provided as a donation and came from the JATC.

“Our principal, Chris Titus, purchased our tree and FCCLA purchased the decorations,” White said. “We could use our budget for other things, but we choose to use it for this. Some people spend thousands on a tree. We spend a couple hundred dollars, but we probably triple what we spend when the tree is purchased.”

McKinzie Burgess is the FCCLA public relations officer and is in charge of their Festival of Trees participation this year.

“It’s a little stressful and all, but it’s fun and actually gets me more in the spirit of Christmas,” McKinzie said. “We decided to do a white tree instead of the traditional green to bring out all the white, red and green decorations. We are super excited to be part of this.”

Sierra Francis and Morgan Buehner hold the topper for their Festival of Trees entry.

 Because every student in the JATC teacher education class is a member of FCCLA, they work together to accomplish their service projects.

Every year, members of the FCCLA compete against other schools in STAR events (Students Taking Action with Recognition), which includes doing projects and service in the community. These events help develop leadership skills and career preparation as a team and as an individual.

“The Festival of Trees is part of our community service for our regional STAR competition in February,” White said.  “This is our fourth time doing this, we’ve done it as long as I’ve been a teacher here and I’ve been here for four or five years.” 

The students help by choosing and assembling the tree and decorations, making the gingerbread house from scratch and advertising the event around the campus of the JATC.