KIRTLAND — Months of hard work came to fruition with a snip of the red ribbon as Kirtland special education students celebrated the grand opening of Purple Pride Products, a student run store showcasing their handmade goods.

Along with the Red Coats from the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, students from Diane Ziemer's class at Kirtland Central High School came together to hold the ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Ziemer said through the efforts of multiple principals and other school officials have lead to the current incarnation of the store.

After an initial start as school supply store called Turtle Creek Enterprises, the school was looking for a more permanent home.

"We coordinated the grant money and built an actual store in the front lobby," Ziemer said.

Before the construction of the store in the front lobby, Ziemer's students sold their crafts from a table during basketball games and a mobile cart during football season.

Ziemer was hoping to host the grand opening in the spring but after some setbacks, decided to wait until last week to when basketball season was in full swing.

"We're more on our feet this year, (before) we were kind of floundering in the water," Ziemer said.

Dorothy Nobis, Chamber President/CEO was excited at the opportunity to celebrate with students and honor their hard work. Nobis said the Chamber doesn't get invited to schools very often.

"This may not be the first time but it's the first time in a long time," Nobis said.


"It was exciting to for us and for the amazing people involved in the gift shop and to be there as part of their celebration."

Her students have been crafting many of the items for sale, which include knit caps, notepads, bookmarks, key chains, decorative canvas baskets and more.

Sophomore Zachary Wheeler said he enjoyed crafting the key chains the most, he enjoys crafting the key chains which use purple and gold colors braided together.

Freshman Johanna Levaldo said she enjoys wearing the hats they knit because they keep her head warm.

"They are learning a lot of academic skills mixed with functional skills," Ziemer said. "We had to work on patterns before we starting making jewelry. Otherwise, it would be just a mismatch of beads."

Ziemer's students have been working along with other classes in the school to sell items they produced.

Art department classes have been making handmade cards and paintings, the business classes have been selling posters and the consumer education classes have been assisting with embroidery projects.

With the money remaining after maintaining inventory for items like school t-shirts, hoodies and stadium seat cushions, Ziemer said money helps provide students with new activities in the classroom and field trips.

But most important to Ziemer was seeing her students learn skills that are applicable outside the classroom, skills that will help them join the work force.

"It teaches them the discipline of completing a task, to see it through to the finish point," Ziemer said."

Purple Pride Products is open every Thursday during lunch periods from 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. and 12:40 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. and will be open during home basketball games.