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Bellevue Students Create Thousands of Paper Cranes for Families in Newtown

Cherry Crest Elementary fifth-graders and classrooms across the district are hard at work to help reach the project's goal of 26,000 cranes.

OUTSIDE SEATTLE -- Fifth-grade students at a local elementary school are transforming colorful squares of paper into cranes as a message of compassion to the grieving families in Newtown, CT.

Cherry Crest Elementary School in Bellevue, along with more than a dozen other classrooms in the Bellevue School District, are partnering with a school in Bethel, CT, just 10 miles from Newtown, on the project. Students are helping Bethel High School reach its goal of constructing 26,000 paper cranes to hand out to families of victims of last Friday’s school shooting. Each family will receive a chain of 1,000 cranes.

Bellevue schools got involved when Cherry Crest fifth-grade teacher Brooke Stover contacted her friend at Bethel High to see how her students could help. Stover’s students, as well as those from two other Cherry Crest classrooms and the other district schools, jumped at the idea. As of midday Thursday, Dec. 20, Bellevue students already had created 2,500 paper cranes and expected to finish 1,000 more by Friday, Dec. 21.

The project highlights the district’s Virtue of the Month: Compassion.

“Their care and concern is inspiring,” Stover said. “Their positive energy, during a time of sadness, is contagious. My hope is that this project promotes this compassion and helps students cope and feel as if in some small way, they are helping those who are hurting so badly.”

When the project was started, only one student in Stover’s class knew how to fold a paper crane, a process which can involve up to 35 folds. On Thursday, all of the students sat at desks and at tables, working an assembly line of crane making.

“Even though it seems like a small act, we are helping all of the victim’s families heal just a little,” said Katie, one of Stover’s students.

At the front of Stover’s classroom, plastic bins are filled with completed cranes in every color of the rainbow. Some are made on shiny metallic papers. Others are printed with Hello Kitty designs. On Friday afternoon, the cranes will be shipped to the school in Bethel. Once there, they will be assembled into chains and delivered to the victims’ families.

“If everyone works together, we can help the families who lost a loved one,” said Scotty, another one of Stover’s students. “I hope this gift will help them overcome this rough time and stay strong, knowing kids in Bellevue are thinking of them.”

Parent Teacher Association chapters across the nation also are helping out.

Cindy Halpern December 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Good job, children.
Jensen Nicole December 21, 2012 at 07:13 PM
It is wonderful to see people coming together in love and support for the victims of Sandy Hook. Here is another example of someone reaching out with compassion, offering hope when it's most needed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsX89PlMM-A
Melissa Kendzierski December 21, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Way to go! Learning does start at home, but in addition to the math, science, etc., schools can also teach about love and compassion for others...what a beautiful act of kindness.
Nick Chiparino Sr December 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM
http://youtu.be/y9MatogL2kw So proud to be part of the Yorktown Vigil, would gladly perform at every single vigil if we could, Nick, Brianna & Richie
Elena Conway December 21, 2012 at 11:33 PM
This is so touching and lovely,caring & very thoughtful. I'm 30 miles away from Newtown. I did know someone..who was killed. ALL of CT is in mourning but none as worse as the parents who lost kids & the adults trying to same them. All the kids (and teachers,adults anyone who helped with this gesture of love is so wonderful. Godbless you all. Happy Holidays
Elena Conway December 21, 2012 at 11:35 PM
oops.......That should say save them not same them.

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