Students from Ahwatukee Foothills elementary schools tried a new craft project at Kyrene de la Estrella during this year’s winter recess.

Part of the district’s winter camps, students from kindergarten to fifth grade did their part in making a paper mache shark in light of this year’s Hawaii theme.

Camps were hosted for a majority of the week at Estrella in Ahwatukee and also Kyrene de las Manitas in Tempe. Both schools took their hand at making sharks this year, to eventually be put on display at the school district office.

“I think their favorite part is just getting messy,” said program coordinator Nick Nigh, with his hands covered in the mixture of water, flour and glue.

Split up by grade level, different groups of kids would get to dip newspaper strips into the glue mixture and place them around the shark that coordinators formed with chicken wire and Styrofoam.

The shark, which was about 3 feet long, was nearly complete Thursday afternoon.

“I think the best part is going to be painting it,” said Analisia Argenziano, a fifth-grader at Kyrene de la Sierra.

Paul Johnson, another coordinator, said the shark would dry overnight before the kids could begin painting the shark in a two-tone of dark and light gray, also awaiting its final touches of bedazzled eyes and jagged teeth.

The rest of the school’s multi-purpose room was set up with various stations where students could read, play games, use building blocks, play dress up, or work on the shark.

Throughout the winter camp, students get snacks and lunch as well as time outside for physical activities.

“They have fun, and there’s a lot for them to do,” Johnson added.

Putting on the last pieces of newspaper for the shark, a group of girls working on the shark’s tail said they hope to build something like this next year.

“But something different, a big dog would be awesome,” Argenziano said.

For more information about Kyrene’s winter camps, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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