Shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, the Middle School students started a project in which we would fold and string together 1,000 origami cranes (Senbazuru, in Japanese) to send to Sandy Hook Elementary School to symbolize our sympathy and well-wishes for healing for the people of Newton, CT. We worked on the project during Friday community time.
Everyone contributed in their own way–teachers and students. Students worked as a group and as individuals, and during their free time and during advisory (in addition to Fridays). Parents helped by donating origami paper. Many students had never folded origami before and were convinced that they couldn’t do it, but ended up contributing a number of finished cranes. Jamaal learned how to fold a crane and contributed some as well. Some students (including Giovanni, AJ, Fiona, and Kelly) also handled a needle and thread for the first time ever, and strung together cranes in a wide variety of wonderful color and texture combinations.
It was challenging to find out how to send the project to Sandy Hook. School officials had requested a moratorium on these kinds of things for a few months, as the status of the building and the school’s location were in question, and City Hall was overflowing with artwork, cards, gifts, etc. I later learned that there are storerooms filled with stuff, and more continues to arrive. Then Boston was bombed.
The students near-unanimously voted to have the project sent to the family of Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old woman who was killed in the bombing while watching her boyfriend finish the Boston Marathon. Once the media were gone and the funeral over, I was able to make contact (via Facebook) with a good friend of the Campbells who is managing a memorial fund in Krystle’s name.
During their English classes, I worked with the students on personal letter writing skills (format, phrasing, etc), and each student wrote his or her own brief letter of sympathy. The letters and cranes are now boxed up and will be headed for Massachusetts tomorrow morning.