St. Louis students give 250 toys to kids at Christmas parade

Some 250 wooden toys were given to children watching this year’s Christmas parade by St. Louis High School students who made them in an after-school woodworking shop.

“We had multiple styles of cars, tractors and trains,” said Phil Maxwell, the teacher who supervises the woodworking shop. 

Although the program is so far limited to the school district’s “at-risk” students, Maxwell said he is “learning that all of us in this world are ‘at-risk’ in some area of our lives.”

Train Toy

This toy train was created by students in Phil Maxwell’s woodworking shop.

“The program exists to help kids be connected with each other, with an adult to be a sounding board, and with a task that produces growth and learning,” Maxwell said via email. “The program continues to evolve, and I see it having an impact in a lot of different areas. With that said, it needs to stay within three areas of focus: Kids centered, community focused and future driven. If it doesn’t fit in at least on of these three areas then it has lost its purpose.”

So far there have been two after-school classes each week with about six students in each class. Twelve of the students distributed toys at the parade. “They had a ton of fun giving back to our community,” Maxwell said. “And it’s what I am trying to teach these young people.”

The wood shop is located in the high school, and most of the tools and materials were donated. “Peters Hardware continues to support us, and Log Cabin Lumber in Elm Hall provides the lumber,” Maxwell said. “We have a potential project in the works with a local business in St. Louis. I don’t want to give too many details yet until we finalize some things. My goal with our shop is to give back to our community.”

Custodial privatization

The privatization of the school district’s custodial services inched closer to 100 percent on Monday, Dec. 17, as the school board voted to replace a recently departed middle school custodian with a person to be provided by Caravan Facilities Management of Saginaw, the company the district contracts with for custodial services.

Caravan now provides four out of nine of the district’s custodians. Superintendent Kristi Teall said the district will “continue to provide an opportunity for our own local USW and Caravan to bid on each position that comes open. Depending on which bid is better financially, that is the direction we will go.  The USW has been given two opportunities to bid so far, but they have chosen not to bid on the openings.”

The district’s custodians are represented by the United Steel Workers union.

Teall said the district saves $10,000 to $15,000 per custodian by using Caravan as opposed to paying the custodians itself.

Additions and subtractions

The board accepted the resignation of Linsay Keefer, a special education paraprofessional at Carrie Knause. Teall said that Keefer took a job at the RESD, adding “They pay more.”

The board approved the hiring of Steve Schwanda as JV boys basketball coach.


Don Kelley, Greg Walterhouse, Carrie Beeson, Carrie Salladay and John Pavlik were present.


Categories: Uncategorized

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