USMH students host holiday storybook event

December 23, 2012
  • Front row, Ed McClain, Anna Turner, Sheila Horst and instructor Rose Pellegrino. Back row, Mellisa Walker, AmeriCorps representative Lisa Clark, instructor Kris McGee, Kristen Dick, Megan Sneckenberger, Erika Downs, Ashley Canfield and Stefanie Girouard.
Submitted photo

USMH was transformed into a holiday wonderland Nov. 30. For the past nine years, the main campus at Frostburg State University has hosted the Holiday Storybook, an all-day event filled with crafts and activities for children.

This year, FSU at USMH professor Kris McGee, with the help of mentor and event originator Barbara Ornstein, decided to duplicate aspects of the event on the Hagerstown campus.

Children and their families from area schools were invited to attend. Activities included cookie decorating, craft making, a writing center and face painting.

A puppet show, complete with handmade puppets by student Michael Lofton, and dance excerpts from “The Nutcracker” by Hagerstown Ballet dancers, including student Katie Colbert, entertained the families.

“This event was everything I dreamed of and more magical than I had hoped,” McGee said.

FSU education students made many decorations, including the front door of a gingerbread house that the children entered upon arrival. All students and staff were dressed as elves, and Santa was present.


The event utilized the USMH lobby and classrooms, as well as the city’s incubator space next door.

McGee has talked with Community Affairs Director Karen Giffin, noting she is planning next year to collaborate with the city in efforts to expand the event.

The event was sponsored by AmeriCorps and FSEA, or Frostburg Student Education Association, in Hagerstown.

USMH is a regional higher education center offering 23 programs from six institutions within the University System of Maryland. The multi-university campus is in downtown Hagerstown. Partner institutions include: Coppin State University, Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Maryland, College Park and University of Maryland University College.

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