Monster Project

By Joni S. Lam, FCS Teacher 

In a heartwarming display of creativity and collaboration, the large commons of the Turner Ashby High School cafeteria was buzzing with excitement from more than 200 kindergarten and high school students on Friday, April 5th. Two local Rockingham County Public Schools, Cub Run Elementary and Turner Ashby High School, collaborated together on an imaginative project they simply called, “the monster project”. 

What originally started in 2023 as a joint effort with kindergarten teacher, Kelli Sprague, and high school art teacher, Emily Quesenberry, became an ambitious goal to include all six kindergarten classes from Cub Run. Joni Lam, the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) teacher at Turner Ashby recognized the unique outreach project last year and offered to assist with the expansion in 2024 by including many of her classes. 

Earlier in the school year, the kindergarten students eagerly dove into the world of design by illustrating an array of colorful and quirky monster characters. The students then teamed up with several classmates to write and illustrate a friendship story starring their lovable monster creations. Each story highlighted the students' problem-solving skills and desire to be kind friends.

While the kindergarten students were working on their books, Joni Lam and Emily Quesenberry incorporated the drawn monsters into their curriculum by pairing of a kindergarten student with a high school student to begin working on bringing the monster’s to life.

Then in February, the monsters were sent to Joni Lam and Emily Quesenberry to incorporate into their 

The high school students learned sewing and pattern making skills as they used the picture and short description of the monster created by their kindergarten buddy to bring the creation to life in a 3-D format (stuffed animal). The project aimed not only to ignite the imaginations of the kindergarten students but also to provide an opportunity for the high school participants to foster creativity and problem-solving skills. Through the process of designing and constructing the monsters, the high school students honed their sewing skills and learned valuable lessons in elements of design, pattern creation, and construction.

Mrs. Lam expressed her excitement about the project, stating, "It's been incredibly rewarding to see the enthusiasm and creativity that both the high school and kindergarten students have brought to this collaboration. While it was not a simple project, it has been incredibly worthwhile to see our students take pride in creating this gift for the kindergartener.” 

The monsters, each as unique as both the kindergarteners who designed them and the high schoolers who brought them to life, ranged from friendly and silly to downright adorable. With multiple eyes, mismatched limbs, and usually horns or wings, these creatures are sure to capture the hearts of anyone who encounters them.

The kindergarten classes traveled to TA on April 5th to read their monster stories to their high school “buddies” and then were surprised to receive the created monster as a gift. "This project was so much fun and I was delighted to see my peers interacting with the excited kindergarteners!" exclaimed Grayson Long, a high school FCS student. The original initiator of the project, Kelli Sprague said, "Social-emotional learning is foundational for young children and it was so rewarding to see kindergarteners apply what they know about kindness and friendship to the creative stories they wrote.  But, the icing on the cake was watching our youngsters interact with Emily and Joni's students and see their characters brought to life in a one-of-a-kind fabric model!"

The monster project serves as a shining example of the transformative power of art, collaboration, and life skills, leaving a lasting impression on all who participated and reminding us that creativity knows no bounds.

Monsters 1Monsters 2Monsters 3Monsters 4Monster 5
Photo Credit: Leslie Stevens, TAHS Photojournalism Teacher