Students learn new ways to pass the time

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2003

Erratic pounding echoed throughout a normally quiet hallway of Queen of Angels School Friday.

Inside a fifth grade classroom, students were putting finishing touches on red, white and blue birdhouses as a part of Queen of Angels' annual Hobby Day.

Fifth through seventh graders picked four hobbies they wanted to learn more about. Teachers, administrators and parents arranged more than 20 hobbies for students to experience throughout the day. Many are done at the school, but some students trekked to the YMCA to swim and the Senior Center to play billiards.

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"It's a neat day to show kids that there are hobbies out there," said Mary Holtorf, a fifth grade teacher. "It encourages kids to turn off the TV."

Students paid a few dollars for each class for supplies. Some classes, like billiards, were free.

Parents Jerry and Megan Kraemer decided to teach the birdhouse-making class. They used a pattern that requires wood, a coffee can, paint and wire.

Fifth grader Alex Shaffer has built birdhouses before and thinks he'll put the one he made Friday in a tree in his front yard. He also signed up for stamp making, golf and billiards. Shaffer had not played billiards before, but enjoyed it.

"It was fun. The people there are nice," Shaffer said of the players at the senior center.

As a seventh grader, this is Jenni Fisher's last Hobby Day. She thinks it's a good experience for students.

"It's a nice break from classes and stuff," Fisher said. "You can hang out with kids you might not know,"

In the soap-carving class, long-time wood carvers Dave Dammen of Austin and John Carlin of Lanesboro, showed students carving basics.

The students used ivory soap and butter knives to create hearts, gnomes and faces.

"It gives them an idea how carving goes and the feel of it," Dammen said, adding that he wished he had started the hobby when he was younger.

Among the other hobbies were golf, basket weaving and belly dancing -- a hobby seventh graders Tiffany Carlson and Ashleigh Smith were impressed with.

"It's really fun," Smith said.

Most of the children already had other hobbies they enjoy doing ranging from sports to crafts to magic, but they thought the activities were worthwhile.

"It's better than a regular school day," seventh grader Michael Weis said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at