Ayanna Hatton (left) shows off a card she made to John Bellino, her E.M.T. basic teacher at Region 10 Technical High School. To her right, Paige Rinaldi, in the CNA program, puts the final touches on one of her cards. Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

Katelyn Arsenault, a CNA student and Katelynn Austin, a CNA now the in the EMT program, laugh while making holiday cards at school on Friday. Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Students at Region 10 Technical High School spent Friday afternoon absorbed with construction paper, glue, stickers and glue, as Christmas carols played softly from one corner of the room. 

The mood was light and festive as the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) students made over 400 holiday cards, which will be delivered to local senior care centers throughout the week. 

Joanne McMahon, the CNA instructor who has spearheaded this effort for the last six years, has been collecting supplies all year long. The annual card making extravaganza takes up a full day’s worth of curriculum, but she says it’s worth it. 

“These kids want to give, sometimes you just have to show them how to do it,” she said. “They’re 16, 17, 18 years old, but we’re asking them to take care of real people. You need to find that bridge.” 

The intent of the holiday cards, which are usually distributed with some Christmas caroling, is to bring joy, she and the students agreed. 

Working with seniors, some of them may have outlived their families or their families live far away, so they may not receive many visitors. They may have dementia or Alzheimer’s and the student visit and card may be the only thing they remember from the day, she told them. 

“When I watch these kids and I watch a resident receive a card, it’s amazing,” McMahon said.

The day-long event also brings McMahon’s nursing students together with John Bellino’s EMT students. McMahon and Bellino work together closely, she said, and try to foster a connection between their classes. The card-making day allows them to spend time together, relaxing and having fun without the distraction of cell phones or a lecture. They can build relationships, get to know each other better before they enter the field, where many of them will be working side by side. 

“It’s all worth it,” McMahon said. 

Students worked with construction paper, stickers, markers, glitter and even recycled Christmas cards to make homemade cards for local seniors. Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

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