Thanks to Puyallup High math teacher Leigh Ann Mahaffie buses won’t be the only thing returned to the districts who reached out to Puyallup after the bus fire last August.
When the loaner buses are returned to their districts in January they will be accompanied by a beautiful, personalized quilt made by Mahaffie. She used her talent in quilting to make colorful quilts for Hood Canal, Kent, Northshore, North Thurston, Oak Harbor, Peninsula, Sedro Wooley, Snoqualmie Valley and the Puget Sound Educational Service District. The message sewn on the back of each quilt reads:
To (School District Name):
From All of Us to All of You
THANK YOU for your generosity!
Your kindness in loaning us school buses
when we were in need was a gift beyond measure.
The Puyallup School District
Mahaffie said she was touched by the kindness shown by school districts, near and far, after the devastating loss of 26 school buses last August, less than two weeks before school started. She wanted to return the kindness by providing a personal touch when the buses were returned.
“Everyone was shocked by the loss—this could have been such a different outcome. Out of the kindness of their hearts and expecting nothing in return the other districts have shown such kindness,” said Mahaffie.
A 26-year veteran teacher in Puyallup, Mahaffie has been an avid quilter for more than 20 years and has made hundreds of quilts. She said quilting runs in her family. Her mother and aunt were quilters, and she learned to quilt from her grandmother. “I didn’t stand a chance. Any day with fabric is a good day,” laughs Mahaffie.
Originally from Port Angeles, she started her teaching career in Puyallup and married into the well-known Mahaffie family in Puyallup. She taught math at Rogers High and was a district teaching coach before moving to Puyallup High.
From left: Puyallup High students Lilly Wortinger and Tatum Lingley (wtih Mahaffie)
Mahaffie enjoys living and teaching in Puyallup. “The students are just the best, most responsible kids. I enjoy the subjects I teach and the amazing students. When you hand them a test, they say ‘thank you!’” she said.
“I love that even though we’re big we think we are a small town. We act like it. Everybody is family. It feels like a community, and we value music and the arts. It’s a place I want my kids to grow up in.” Leigh Ann Mahaffie
Transportation Director Cathy McDaniel was deeply touched by Mahaffie’s kindness. “We thought it was a very generous and thoughtful idea—completely unexpected. Making a quilt is an investment of time, and Leigh Ann committed her personal time to make nine quilts, one for each district who loaned us buses,” said McDaniel.
We are confident the loaning districts did not expect anything in return for their efforts but will be deeply moved by the kind gesture and heartfelt thank you.”
Transportation Director Cathy McDaniel
The new replacement buses ordered are expected to be delivered by the end of January. The loaned buses will be returned to the districts who loaned them as the new buses arrive and are put into service.