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UV teacher's aide fills display case with different theme each month
Each month, students at Unadilla Valley Elementary School experience a different creative theme in the school’s display case. For spring, they may see an array of robins and rabbits, and for January, they might see a theme centered on “winter fun.”

The students have come to love and appreciate the themes which are the brainchild of Pre-K teacher’s aide Marilyn Neuland, who has been with the district about 20 years. About 10 years ago, she volunteered to take over the case and change the monthly theme.

We caught up with her to find out where she gets her inspiration from.

Q. How did this start?
A. It (the case) was always empty and we decided it would be nice for the kids to have something in there and I agreed to take it over.

Q. Where do you get your ideas from?
A. Usually at the end of the school year, we have a morning program discussion. This year has been about heroes. Other than that, I just think of some ideas and go with it. Like the monthly activities like Halloween or Christmas. In June, I always do a farewell to anyone who is retiring and I put their picture on it.

Q. How far ahead do you plan?
A. I start in summer thinking about the whole year. But the one for next month, I am thinking about it now.

Q. Do you have an artistic background?
A. No. I like to do crafts, so once I see a picture, I can follow it.

Q. Do you ever repeat the same scene?
A. No, I want it to be exciting for the kids.

Q. Where do you get the materials?
A. Some of the toys were my children’s. I also visit the dollar stores often and if I need something, I will talk to the other aides.

Q. What was your favorite display?
A. Any of the holiday ones. In October, I put in a canister full of candy. The kids have to guess how much candy is in there.

Q. What do the kids think about it?
A. They love it. When I bring in my children’s toys, they stop and ask me if they can have them.