Monster buddies: Kindergartener Deshawn and 10th-grader Sophia. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Today was a monster day for Aquebogue Elementary School kindergartners.

The elementary school students designed monsters that Riverhead High School students brought to life as hand-sewn stuffed animals — er, monsters.

The high-schoolers presented their creations to their kindergartener designers today at a special assembly at the high school.

The project was the brainchild of Aquebogue Elementary School kindergarten teacher Keri Stromski and Riverhead High School guidance counselor Anastasia Cobis.

Stromski said she and Cobis are friends on Facebook, where Stromski had seen and shared a post about a project like this at another high school.

“She said let’s see if we can do this,” Stromski said.

Courtesy photo: Keri Stromski

The Aquebogue and Riverhead High School PTSOs funded the project.

“We’re reading books like ‘There’s a Monster Under My Bed’ and learning about shapes and colors,” Stromski said. “So this was perfect,” she said.

The kindergartners got templates to work with and designed and colored their own monsters. High school students in the creative crafts class and art club took it from there, sewing and stuffing monsters based on the kindergarteners’ designs.

The kindergarteners and high schoolers met today in the high school auditorium. The high school students presented the kindergarteners with their stuffed monsters. Kindergarteners presented the high school students with buddy bracelets they’d made for them. The “monster buddies” sat together and talked about their joint creations.

Aquebogue Elementary School assistant principal Vanessa Williams read a book called “Leonardo the Terrible Monster” about a monster who was incapable of scaring anyone and learned it was much better to be a good friend than a terrible monster.

The Riverhead High School chamber orchestra under the direction of Marisa Macchio performed for the assembly and students, teachers and parents sang carols together.

“It was a challenge but a lot of fun,” said high school art club vice president Laura Allen, a junior.

“It was great to see the reaction of the kids,” art club co-president Indya Da’Mes said. “It was a really good project.”

Editor’s note: This article has been amended to reflect the following correction: The Riverhead High School PTSO split the cost of the project with the Aquebogue PTSO.

Aquebogue Elementary School kindergarten teacher Keri Stromski and RIverhead High School guidance counselor Anastasia Cobis at today’s assembly. Courtesy photo


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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.