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Teaching tapestry

Martha Dunlap's class shows off a memory quilt that was given to Dunlap as a retirement gift. Pictured are, from left, (front) Helen Salgado, Cameron Taylor, Madison Griffith, Brody Roberts, (second row) Jada Pepper, Jaxon NeSmith, Andrew Jones, Trey Fowler, Caleb Pique, (third row) Gracie Fletcher, Marshall Sellers, Brayeden Brown, Kirsten Seggars, Jadyn Chesser, Sophia Hampton, Tyde Witt, Thomas Itsede, (back) Martha Dunlap and Carter Coan. | Brent Maze

Retiring kindergarten instructor receives memory quilt from class

Martha Dunlap had no idea what was happening.

The kindergarten teacher at Crestline Elementary School knew one of her students wanted to show off a quilt that had handprints of her class this year. What she didn’t know is that the hand-made memory quilt was a retirement gift for her.

“I was just really surprised,” Dunlap said. “It’s probably one of the best gifts I could ever receive. It’s just so great that they did this for me.”

Dunlap has been a kindergarten teacher since October 1983 and retired at the end of this school year.

She said leaving education is bittersweet for her.

“I really love my job,” Dunlap said. “I really enjoy teaching kids, but I’m going to enjoy retirement.”

Dunlap said she hopes to do a lot of traveling during her retirement, but she also plans to still work three days a week working for the state department of education.

The idea began with it being Dunlap’s final year to teach and Sandy Brown, the grandmother of kindergarten student Carter Coan, wanted to do something special for Dunlap since it was her final year to teach. So they decided to make the memory quilt.

Brown and Coan’s mother, Shanna, sent supplies and quilt squares to Dunlap under the premise that the quilt was going to go to Carter. Dunlap asked each child to do a handprint and returned the squares to Shanna Coan and Brown.

“They told me that it was going to be for a quilt for Carter to remember his kindergarten year,” Dunlap said. “I thought that was so sweet, but little did I know that they were doing it for me.”

After it was finished Brown asked if she could come to the class to talk with them about quilting and show some quilts she had made for Carter.

During that day in class, Brown talked about how in the old days people got together and quilted. Then she showed the quilt with handprints and told about how a lot of people did memory quilts, when someone was moving or for special occasions so that the quilt would provide a memory of special times or events.

Carter then read what was on the back. That’s when Martha realized it was for her. In addition to all of the students’ handprints, the back also had a handprint of Kennedy Coan, Carter’s older sister who also had Dunlap in kindergarten.

“It was just a special day,” Dunlap said. “It’s something that I’ll never forget. It’s just so neat what they did for me.”