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Quebec high school students crafting for a good cause

Click to play video: 'John Rennie High School students making a difference for preemies' John Rennie High School students making a difference for preemies
WATCH: A group of students at John Rennie High School is getting crafty for a good cause. They are knitting hats for premature babies at the Montreal Children's Hospital. As Olivia O'Malley reports, some were preemies themselves. – May 20, 2022

A group of students at John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire, Que., is learning that knitting takes time and focus.

“I just never had the patience for it because I didn’t find a reason to do it,” said Grade 11 student Keira Boyle.

Now though, Boyle has found her reason. Her leadership class is turning balls of yarn into hats for premature babies at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Boyle showed off the hat she made to Global News Friday morning.

“It’s pink. It’s really tiny. It fits, like, on my fist,” she said.

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The class focuses on projects that give back to the community. This one has a more personal connection.

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“My youngest was born almost two months early. I remember going into the hospital having nothing with me, completely unprepared and a little lost,” said John Rennie teacher Mylena Netcheva.

She says a hat similar to the one her students are knitting was the first thing her newborn ever received.

“We’re looking forward to being able to bring a little bit of joy to those parents who are nervous,” said Netcheva.

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World’s smallest-ever baby boy healthy enough to leave hospital – Feb 27, 2019

Most students have never held knitting needles before, including Isaiah Parent. The 17-year-old was himself a premature baby.

“Everyone used to try to describe to me how small I was. I’d never believe them. But, like looking at these hats, there literally like the size of my thumb,” said Parent.

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Netcheva says she was very hands-on with the students as they learned to knit at first. Now, the teacher says she simply tours the room making corrections.

“She’s helped me like 15 times restarting … it’s just a huge help,” said Edward Freytag.

The Grade 11 student had never knit before and said the process is “calming.”

While some students say they will continue to practice the hobby, Boyle has already turned it into a business.

“I already have three commissions for hats for people’s pets,” she said.

Even though the class just started the project this spring, the class has been able to knit close to 30 hats.

Netcheva says this is only the start. She hopes to unravel more yarn with students in the future.

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