Mrs. Carol Sumner has, and is, making lasting memories for children in Terre Haute, Indiana. As the kindergarten teacher at DeVaney Elementary School, she has taken it upon herself to give her students a tangible reminder of their time in her class. But most of all, she offers a gift that shows how much she cares for every one of them.
Each year, just before winter break, her students take part in The Nutcracker. After their play is over, she gives them all a bag with a small nutcracker figure, a coloring book, and a very special shirt they’ve—unknowingly—created for themselves.
Sometime, during the first few months of the school year, Mrs. Sumner has each of the students draw a self-portrait on a small piece of paper. Along with that she asks them to draw herself, the other teachers and aides, and various items to go with the year’s theme. Often there is the school building, busses, playground equipment, and the dragon mascot for DeVaney Elementary; while this year the topic is Happy Camper, so they’ve created tents, trees, and a campfire. After she gathers all their artwork she brings them to us at Graphic FX. We then put them together with the names of each person underneath their portraits.
We’ve had the honor of printing these shirts for Mrs. Carol Sumner for over ten years now, and I have to say it is my favorite order of all time. When I asked Carol how she came up with the idea, she perfectly described the very reason I love this order.
“I love, love, love kids artwork. For one because they’re precious and for two they’re memories. I try to make kindergarten a memory,” Mrs. Sumner explained.
When talking of the children’s reaction to the gift, she told me they are shocked. They can’t believe their artwork is on a shirt. The parents are equally thrilled when they see it’s their kid’s art. To this day she has former students come and talk about the shirts and many still have them even though she gave it to them so many years ago.
Mrs. Carol Sumner stated she tries to make kindergarten a memory. Well, I must say she surpasses her aim. She has made kindergarten a memory, but she has also made it a joy. She has shown her care and devotion to these children, she has shown them they matter. That is something they will carry with them for all their lives.
So, like the many parents that have shown their thanks, I would also like to express my appreciation. It is teachers like Mrs. Sumner that make a difference in this world. Thank you, for everything you do.