MONTREAL -- The Grade 1 students at Forest Hill Junior School in St-Lazare are unlikely innovators -- they came up with “personalized mask holders” for students to keep track of their mask, and keep it clean.

The idea has already won a Quebec Entrepreneur Prize and now the students are planning even more.

Combining fun and function, these handmade multi-coloured “cordelettes” are all the fashion at their school: a bit of bling around your neck that your mask can dangle from during the moments that you take it off.

“When you take it off, it's like a necklace that holds it on,” said one student.

Sylvie Ozell’s class came up with these “personal beaded mask holders” when they could see that students do need to remove their masks sometimes and need to keep it for the next time they need to put it on.

“Because then all the germs from the other mask from yesterday would be on your face again,” explained seven-year old Hannah Koch.

“I like having my cordelette because before my mask always fell on the floor and I needed to ask for a new one,” said classmate Emma Cedelot.

The class earned a grant and the title of "local laureate" in the OSEntreprendre Challenge spanning Quebec.

Their local CAQ MNA Marilyne Picard visited the school Monday to congratulate them.

“I think it's very important for the young people. They have fibre,” said Picard, “the entrepreneurship fibre and I think it's important for the Quebec of tomorrow!”

The class also made 200 cordelettes for all the students in Grades 1 and 2. Hannah then had another idea to expand the project even further, explained Ozell.

“She said, ‘You know what would be cool? If Francois Legault had one!’ And I said ‘Wow, this is a cool idea,’” said the teacher.

So, with Picard’s help, they got the message to the premier, who sent an encouraging video right back to Forest Hill Junior, thanking them for the initiative.

“I am very proud of you!” said Legault in the recorded video message. “You have given me confidence in the future.”

Hannah was very pleased.

“I thought my idea was going to work and it did work out,” she said.

The class is now sending some cordelettes, made especially for the premier and his team, hoping they’ll wear them during their regular news conferences.

“A little boy said ‘Ok, I'm doing it for Monsieur Legault, blue and white and Monsieur Dube, another colour, and Dr. Arruda,” said Ozell, who made researching Arruda’s favourite colours a fun quest for her students.

“They know he likes colours. We checked through the internet. It was really specific,” she said.

One student made his cordelette in rainbow colours, like the rainbow art the class has been drawing to spread the hopeful message that things will be ok.

The project has been a learning experience and along the way, the students have an easier time wearing a mask at school.