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Handmade Christmas


Fifty hand-painted metal ornaments adorn Troutdale’s Christmas tree in Mayors Square.

The colorful snowmen, snowflakes, trees, candy canes and ornaments decorating the tree are the work of Bernie Kleiman’s Reynolds High School metals students.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Reynolds HIgh metals students Jacob Archibald, Robert Smith, Teal Burton,  McKenzie Meier, Alec Fappas, Cole Carlson and Drake Miles will create metal hearts for animals cages at the Multnomah County Humane Society this Valentines Day. The hearts will read Be mine and Im yours.

“In a lot of other classes, you do things individually and for a grade,” said Teal Burton, a 17-year-old junior. “You have a real sense of community and creative license in this class. It fills me with a lot of pride to be able to show it off.”

Beyond fabricating the ornaments for the city’s tree the past four years, students in the metals program attend the annual tree lighting and hang ornaments.

“It was a way for students to rise to the occasion,” said McKenzie Meier, a 17-year-old junior.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - McKenzie Meier, a junior, holds an ornament.

This year at the lighting, a parent, Kris Fappas, set up a First Friday booth and sold ornaments for $3 as a fundraiser for the program. Within minutes of watching a live TV interview with the metals students, a community member showed up to buy ornaments.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Alec Fabbas, a junior, stands by a First Friday booth his mother Kris put together for the Reynolds High metals students.

“In addition to their holiday spirit, kids come together to help their community and to put smiles on faces.” Kleiman said. “There’s a sense of community camaraderie. It’s a big thing for these students to participate in.”

After the decorated tree is dismantled, the ornaments will be given to the city of Troutdale and families who cannot afford holiday decorations.

Kleiman said each year he and his wife brainstorm ways his program — this year six classes with about 200 students — can contribute to the community and plan various ways to help out.

“Community outreach is an integral philosophy in the metals class,” Kleiman said.

Along with the ornaments, the students this fall created a veterans display.

For Valentine’s Day, Kleiman’s classes are creating hearts bearing the words “Be mine” and “I’m yours” that will hang over dog and cat cages at the Multnomah County Humane Society.

Additionally, the classes create specialized metal clocks for children at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University.

To learn more about Reynolds’ metals program, call 503-667-3186, ext. 1100.