They pulled out all of the stops this year, or should we say toys? Students in every art class and several vocational-technical programs definitely pulled out all of the toys. For the past two months, they designed and created large replicas of toys, new and nostalgic, to ride on the Whittier Tech float in this year's VFW Santa Parade.
There's the Legos Millennium Falcon crafted from hundreds of cut pieces of PVC piping, a giant rocking horse with yarn tail, a spinning model airplane and a choo-choo train rolling around a track. Look for the life-size Tonka Truck pulling the float, fronted by an Etch a Sketch with a lounging Buddy the elf in the truck bed. On the back, elves of all shapes are hanging on, pushing buttons on an Atari remote. Students hand-painted the sides of the float with a candy-cane conveyer belt loading the gifts busy elves are making.
Dozens of students are expected to march beside their creation in the parade that kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday from Haverhill's Hunking School. This will be the third float overseen by Whittier Art Teacher Celine Soucy. She and her students won first prize awards for the first two. The float will also be featured in Merrimac's Santa Parade on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. It kicks off from Sweetsir School and runs to Kimball Park on Route 110.
"This teaches students how to be part of something big," she said. "It brings together kids of all abilities and, as a group, they help each other and see the project through from beginning to end. Each of them builds his or her part and then they see it all come together. More and more students want to be part of it."