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Holbrook's senior project helps keep others warm

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 Dakota Holbrook wants those receiving her hand-made knitted scarves to feel hope for a brighter future in addition to the warmth they provide during the cold.

The 18 year-old daughter of Melanie and Tim Holbrook has knitted 30 scarves as part of a required senior project for North Bullitt High School.

Inspired by a friend’s suggestion, Dakota is donating all of her scarves to Shepherd’s Shelter, an agency who advocates for the homeless in Bullitt County.

“I want people getting my scarves to know they are loved,” Dakota said from her home in Pioneer Village.

Cross-stitching, knitting and crocheting are among the many crafts Dakota enjoys. She has a gift for intertwining the fabric of soft wool and cotton into a combination of colorful creations.

Some are solid such as blue, pink, orange, red, black and purple. Others are a variety of vibrancy.

Like poetry, Dakota’s personality is a part of each scarf. Each one made with tender precision by the skillful hands of a teenager who knows the feeling of being left out.

She is unable to attend school due to a medical condition and is being serviced by the Bullitt County Public Schools Home Hospital program.

She awakens many mornings not feeling well. Even if she does get up feeling good, she tires quickly.

“We have good days and make the best out of all the others,” Melanie said.

Dakota is a senior and wants to experience as many high school memories as possible but she has accepted the limitations.

Working with district Home Hospital Coordinator Emily Hurst-Jones, Dakota is completing all curricular requirements to earn her high school diploma.

“Dakota is a terrific student,” Emily said. “She makes sure all her assignments are completed well on time and earns good grades. She is a real joy to be around.”

There is no doubt Dakota will graduate. Question is will she be physically able to attend the ceremony.

“She wants to but we will just have to wait and see when that day gets here,” Melanie said.

Mom knows her baby girl hurts more emotionally than physically some days. What should be the most carefree time in her youth is spent away from classmates.

What hurts are the actions of a few former friends.

“They don’t call or stop by to visit,” Dakota said. “They said they didn’t have the time to spend around someone who couldn’t go places.”

Although she could choose bitterness, Dakota has taken the high road and wants to share her gift of artistry with others.

“Mrs. Jones told me about Shepherd’s Shelter and I thought they would like receiving the scarves,” Dakota said. “I feel good knowing the scarves will help people.”

Melanie added she has seen an enthusiasm from Dakota in knitting scarves.

“When she gets going, she can knock out one scarf every day,” Mom said.

Family can usually be counted on for support. Dakota’s parents have always been there for her and, although older brother Hunter is away at school, he continues to look out for his little sister.

“Hunter calls and texts to check on Dakota,” Melanie said. “He is fiercely protective of her.”

Bullitt County Public Schools has over 13,200 students in grades kindergarten through 12. There are 25 school facilities, a certified staff of over 850 and a classified staff of over 850 working every school day to make the district the leader in educational excellence.