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De Pere’s Neuville crochets for a good cause

By Heather Graves

DE PERE – “An old lady at heart” – that’s how De Pere High School junior Edie Neuville, 15, describes herself.

“My grandma showed me how (to crochet) a few years ago, but it had been a while,” Neuville said. “But when COVID hit, I was bored and wanted a new hobby, because I didn’t really have anything to do, so I kind of re-taught myself from some YouTube videos.”

From crocheting to baking, doing things for others has always been Neuville’s passion.

So it was no surprise to those who know her when she jumped at the opportunity to use her crochet talents to help others struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic

“It’s important to give back to people,” she said.

Armed with yarn and crochet hooks, Neuville forgoed her lunch period and spent it in her homeroom teacher’s classroom crocheting hats and mittens for children affected by the pandemic.

“I am pretty shy,” she said. “And I don’t really eat lunch, so I needed something to do and somewhere to go. So I started going into (Mrs. Barbara Kowalczyk’s) classroom at lunch and I would work on hats. Then she had the idea, since she ran a food pantry, she would start donating them through there.”

It was a simple idea that spread like wildfire, with Neuville making and donating nearly 20 hats and mittens over the course of just a few months.

“She has been coming in every day to work on this awesome project, since our return back into the classroom,” Kowalczyk said. “She is an amazing student who dedicated her lunchtime to knit hats for the less fortunate students. It is amazing to watch her create and see the joy she can share with this wonderful artwork.”

And it didn’t stop there. Neuville also shared her love for crocheting with her fellow students in her homeroom.

“During the pandemic, I witnessed the sadness and anxiety of a lot of students,” Kowalczyk said. “Edie had shared her love for crocheting with me and I asked if she would teach the class, during our nest period, which consists of a group of students that I will have every year until their senior year,” she said. “Edie shared with us some of her beautiful creations and also did an incredible job of teaching the class how to crochet.”

Kowalczyk said before she knew it, Neuville was leading a crocheting party.

“I was hoping this activity would encourage (my homeroom students) to try new hobbies and to create,” Kowalczyk said. “I truly believe that working with your hands and creating helps many people during difficult times. I think the students found this to be true also.”

After wrapping up her sophomore year, Neuville isn’t looking toward the future quite yet, but when she does, it is likely to involve some sort of math.

“I’m really good at math,” she said. “So definitely something in math, either engineering or actuary. Maybe like UW-Eau Claire or UW-Platteville. But, I still have some time to figure that out.”

For now, she’ll continue to crochet.

“I plan on crocheting and donating (hats and mittens) again next year,” she said.

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