PIQUA — As part of recognizing their 100th day of school, students at Nicholas School are helping one Piqua native celebrate her 100th birthday.
Nicholas School, which is part of the Hahn-Hufford Center of Hope, offers ungraded special-needs education for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. Neurological Education teacher Susan Supinger is helping her students reach out to and send birthday cards to Piqua native Lucille Sansam, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, as part of their school-wide celebration of their 100th day of school.
“We work on a little bit of everything with their fine motors, like cutting, scissor work, pencil grips, stringing beads, anything to do with their hands,” Supinger said about her Neurological Education class. “We also do music and art.” Supinger mentioned that her classroom also put on the “Christmas Carol” during the holidays.
“They did an excellent job,” Supinger said. “I was really very proud of all of them. They actually sing and everything.”
The students used construction paper and tissue paper to create a variety of birthday cards for Sansam, including touchable flowers and animals on the cards.
“First, I made the tree,” Easton, 12, said, describing the card he made for Sansam. “Then, after I made the tree, I put glue on the tree and I put the big leaves on the tree after that. I put it on a piece of white paper with … the bird and the grass on it. After that, I put the background on it.”
For Easton, his favorite part of birthday cards are the background. “I mostly make the best pictures,” Easton said. “I’m almost an artist.”
Supinger then asked her class what questions they would ask Sansam about the past.
“What was it like 100 years ago?” Abby, 14, said.
“How rough was it back then?” Austin, 13, said.
“What did she do on her birthday?” Bri, 11, said.
“What her favorite song was?” Dustin, 14, said.
“What she did in her free time?” Ben, 13, said.
“Definitely didn’t have Nintendo, did she?” Supinger said.
Supinger’s student Aiden, 9, also talked about what cars were like back then, mentioning that they looked like Model Ts.
“Back then, cars were fancy,” Aiden said.
“The most ironic thing about this is when I went to find a 100-year-old person in our area, do you want to know what one of her last names was before her husband passed away?” Supinger said to her class. “Supinger.”
Sansam was married to John Lloyd Supinger between 1933 and 1949, when John Lloyd Supinger was killed in an electrocution accident. Sansam married her second husband, Paul Sansam, in 1956. He passed away in 2002.
“One of the other cool coincidences about Miss Lucille is she worked at the Orr Felt factory,” Supinger said.
According to the history of the Nicholas School, Dimitri Nicholas of the Orr Felt Company donated the use of their facility located on South Main Street after the Rehabilitation Center was founded in 1972 and grew.
“We’re hoping that she will come here and talk to the kids and bring pictures,” Supinger said.
In another classroom, Life Skills teacher Emily Niederbrach took pictures of her students and used an app on the iPad to show them what they would look like if they were 100 years old.
“The kids loved it,” Niederbrach said.
In social studies with teacher Audrey Gorman, students learned about what life was like 100 years ago.
“And then we talked about Ellis Island,” Gorman said. “So I had them write their own activity, what they think life was like on the boat.”
“They did a lot of activities as far as counting 100 pennies, counting 100 items,” Principal Holly Felver said. “They do a lot of those type of things.”
The children were also active for their 100th day of school, doing other activities like trying to jump 100 times on a trampoline or doing 100 steps.
“This was our Spirit Week for us,” Felver said. Instead of wearing uniforms, students got to try out a different look earlier this week as well.
“We allowed our kids to dress up this week on Wednesday and dress as a 100-year-old,” Felver said. She said that some of the students colored their hair gray, brought in little canes for them to use, and wore clothing with “lots of flowers, blouses, little vests, things that made them look somewhat older.”
“The other big thing that we’re doing … we try to collect at least 100 canned goods to donate to the Bethany Center,” Felver said. They have already reached 100 cans, but they are still collecting cans for another week from students, parents, and staff.
“Last year we gathered over 500 cans,” Felver said, adding that they also have a class that “teaches them the idea that we’re doing a good deed as well.”
Students at Nicholas School enjoy the 100th day celebration with different lessons and activities all centering on that same theme.
“They love it, of course,” Felver said. “It’s a little bit different from their normal day.”
Many students enjoy the physical part of the day, learning that it takes a lot of energy to jump 100 times.
“They have a good time,” Felver said.
That day also shows that they are over halfway done with classes that year, with approximately 180 total days in the school year.
“It’s an easy goal,” Felver said. “We’re almost there, we’ve … made it the hundredth day.”
NOTE: Nicholas School was not permitted to release the last names of the students interviewed in this story.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall