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Second graders learn lesson of kindness and gratitude from 104-year-old woman

(WBNG) — You are never too old or too young to help others and show kindness. That’s what some second graders in the Union-Endicott school district learned first-hand with the help of Catherine Lewis.

Catherine Lewis lives at the Vestal Park Assisted Living Center and this month she turned 104-years-old.

“I’m looking forward to 105 now!” she said.

These days she spends a lot of her time crocheting, a hobby she’s had for more than half-a-century.

“I don’t know what I would do. Just sit around for 12 hours a day. I love to do it, and I love to see the color combinations,” said Lewis.

Lewis cranks out dozens of hats each month, and is able to crochet multiple in a day.

Just recently,  she donated her handmade hats to a second grade class at Charles F. Johnson Elementary School in Endicott.

“It made my heart feel welcomed,” said second grader Selene Cranmer.

“They were so excited when they received the hats. Mrs. Lewis is an inspiration to us all. She’s like an angel watching over our children this winter,” said teacher Lisa Ricci.

The class knew they wanted to say thank you. So when they heard Lewis was turning 104, they went to her assisted living center to celebrate, wearing their new hats.

“She was so surprised,” said Selene. “We gave her cards, sang a couple songs.”

“Oh and they came and sang to me, I just loved it. The children were so great. And I have their letters, all their letters, and I’ll never get rid of them,” said Lewis.

They even brought her some new yarn as a gift, but the best present for Lewis is knowing she is making a difference.

“One little boy said he didn’t have a hat, and now he has one,” she said. “It makes you feel real good.”

So while this lesson took place outside of the classroom, the students learned something more than what you can read in a textbook.

“Kindness and gratitude are really the two most powerful things that we can teach our students and this was an activity that really did both of that,” said Ricci.

And it was able to prove age is just a number.

“At 104 years old, Mrs. Lewis taught all of us that one’s heart really never grows old,” said Ricci.

Lewis also makes hats for newborn babies at a local hospital.

She is currently crocheting some mittens for some other local students, because she heard they needed them.

Annie Flaherty

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