ARMA — Northeast High School students gifted both Northeast elementary and middle school students sweaters to take home Thursday in time for holiday break. 

The students who gifted all 343 sweaters were from the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America student organization, advised by Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Kirbie Nutt. 

“I’m so excited that they are going to be able to have a little sweatshirt and be able to match with their friends and then they’ll be able to have Viking gear — I think that will be super cool,” NHS senior Cassidy Hageman said. 

Her classmate Eva Watson agreed and said having Viking gear shows Viking pride. 

“Even if you don’t play sports it’s still showing support for our school and our teammates,” she said adding, “when everyone has a matching sweatshirt — for little kids, that really brings them joy.” 

Aside from matching and showing school spirit, the shirts might have a more special meaning for some of the students. 

“For some kids, school is a safe place,” Watson said. “They come here, they get fed twice a day, they stay warm, they are getting an education but when they go home and they are gone for three weeks at a time, you don’t know. 

“Us giving that sweater puts me at ease knowing that they have something like that to keep them warm because you just don’t know what they are going home to.” 

Another classmate, Jordan Yoakum agreed, and said doing the project was “very heartwarming.” 

The original plan was to do their annual smaller scare “Adopt-a-Family” project, but they wanted to make an impact on more students. The expanded project was made possible through additional fundraising.

“We wanted to do something nice but also very practical for them,” Nutt said. 

FCCLA and other student groups, including Vikings in Production, partnered on the project. 

Local organizations and individuals donated funds to make the project possible, Nutt said. 

“Adam Lusker and the City of Arma went above and beyond with their donations of $500 each,” Nutt said, adding that tags were attached to every sweater gifted to let the students and their families know about the donations. 

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.