Thursday, May 24, 2007

First-grade class crafts quilt with care

Twenty-three pupils send quilt to teacher’s husband serving in Iraq

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Susan Whitney-Wilkerson⁄The Gazette
Greenbelt Elementary School first-graders (front from left) Dimitrius Simpson, 6, Alexis McCann, 7, Elizabeth Mensah, 6; Ian Talley, 7 and Omar Ashkar, 7, try to locate patches they made for a quilt that went to their teacher Heather Segredo’s husband, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander George Segredo, in Iraq. The students packed the quilt in a care package to send to Segredo.
Twenty-three Greenbelt Elementary School pupils hope their drawings of rainbows, the sun shining and phrases like ‘‘Go Navy” and ‘‘You are my hero” will encourage George Segredo, the husband of their first-grade teacher Heather Segredo — as he serves in Iraq.

The pupils teamed with parent Pamela Bernier to show their support for the Segredos.

‘‘I thought putting this together is a nice way to show support for her situation. I wanted to say thank you for what they both do,” Bernier said.

The blanket was sent on May 18 and Heather Segredo estimates that her husband should receive the quilt by Friday.

The class began working on the quilt after returning from Spring Break in April.

Bernier said it took her four hours to sew the quilt.

Segredo said her husband of eight years was deployed to Iraq in February and is scheduled to return on Thanksgiving Day.

‘‘Since he left I’ve been very lonely and that’s been the biggest adjustment,” Heather Segredo said. ‘‘George is not only my husband but he’s my best friend. There is no longer that person that when I come home would ask how was your day? I have a dog Stella but [she] really doesn’t talk much.”

The pupils worked on their drawings the last half-hour of the school day, Heather Segredo said.

‘‘It was so nice when Mrs. Bernier approached me about the idea because it let me know I’m not alone in this,” said Heather Segredo. ‘‘I know the Iraq War is a very controversial issue but she wasn’t looking at who's right or wrong, she was looking at how I’m at a loss right now without my significant other.”

Some pupils have a similar experience with the Iraq War.

‘‘My uncle just returned from Iraq this month,” said Dimitrius Simpson, 6.

Although Simpson does not know much about the war, he said he wanted to make George Segredo feel good during his time in Iraq.

Kylie Canty, 6, said she enjoyed making the quilt because she was able to work on her writing skills.

George Segredo is a Naval Academy Officer but is currently stationed with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

‘‘When I first learned that he was going to Iraq in December, I was petrified,” Heather Segredo said. ‘‘I was like he’s a Navy guy he shouldn’t be going to work for the Army. But he’s totally in support of what he does.”

Assistant Principal Suzanne Plogman said that Bernier’s effort exemplifies the closeness of parents and teachers at Greenbelt Elementary School.

‘‘[It] demonstrates how parent volunteers go beyond what you traditionally would think of a typical parent volunteer,” Plogman said. ‘‘The quilt shows a deep understanding Bernier and the children have for Mr. Segredo’s sacrifices for his country.”

E-mail Marcus Ngbea at mngbea@gazette.net.