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Freeport students save precious memories


When Maryclaire Dumas-Landisi had her essay writing class reinstated at JW Dodd Middle School in September, she felt ecstatic. She said her class helps foster a love of writing in her students as they complete 10 essays in the school year, along with a special scrapbooking project at the end of the year to encapsulate their time at Dodd.  

But when the Covid-19 pandemic arrived and brought about distance learning, Dumas-Landisi and Erika Argueta, who had been substituting for Dumas-Landisi before the pandemic began, were afraid they would not be able to do the scrapbooking project this year.

Rather than giving up, Dumas-Landisi reached out to Michaels, the arts and crafts retail chain, for help in providing scrapbook supplies to her students. The company quickly replied to Dumas-Landisi’s request and delivered 33 boxes of supplies to her house. 

““I couldn’t believe that they did that for us,” Dumas-Landisi said. “I was crying” 

“I never thought that would happen,” Argueta said. “Maryclaire is always an outgoing person who does everything for her students, so I’m glad this actually worked.

With help from Argueta and members of the district, Dumas-Landisi was able to distribute the supplies to more than 100 students of their students last week so that they could complete their scrapbooks and commemorate their unconventional, but also memorable, time during the 2019-2020 school year. 

“We are incredibly proud of Mrs. Dumas for going above and beyond for our students and we are thankful to Michaels for providing these beautiful scrapbooks that our students will use to capture and document this pivotal moment in their lives,” Dodd Principal Johane Ligondé said. “Mrs. Dumas’ efforts exemplify our school motto to ‘Be kind. Work hard. Dream big!’”

Dumas-Landisi said that while students may have missed out on a lot due to the school closures, the scrapbooks would serve as a way for them to remember the rest of the school year fondly for years to come. 

“My hope is that when they’re in their 50s or 60s, looking back on the big moments of their lives, they’ll have these scrapbooks to remind them of what their time at Dodd was like,” Dumas-Landisi said. “I’m already certain this year is one they’ll never forget.” 

For her work, Dumas-Landisi was named a Micheals' #DifferenceMaker,  part of a campaign by Micheals to celebrate local heroes who  give back to their community and inspire others to craft for the greater good during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Along with the scrapbooks, Dumas-Landisi hopes to have her students compile thank you notes to not only Michaels, but also to first responders and essential workers as part of a “Thank You” project to celebrate those who are giving to others during the pandemic.  

Dumas-Landisi and Argueta plan to put all their students’ work together into a presentation to share with the community by the end of the school year.