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HILLSVILLE — Fancy Gap students want 1,000 paper cranes to carry a message of peace to the children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Fourth and fifth graders in Anita Semones’ class continue reading “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” a story about a girl who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima to die later of leukemia from exposure to radiation.
Sadako knew the Japanese adage that if you make a thousand origami paper cranes, you get a wish, the teacher explained. But Sadako died after finishing only 644.
Her friends picked up the idea, and when they reached 1,000 they wished for world peace, according to the book by Eleanor Coerr.
Fancy Gap students in Operation Paper Crane, which stood at 615 cranes as of last Wednesday, will also wish for peace in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six staff members.
“When we finish this that will be our wish, that there will be peace in the world and nothing like this will ever happen again,” Semones said.
The effort to offer their sympathies to the children of Sandy Hook is a good one, Semones’ students said.
Jonah Johnson said he likes “that we’re helping the children after Sandy Hook.”
“I hope that y’all rebuild y’all’s school and nothing like that ever happens again,” Kaelynn Manning said she will put in her message to the Newtown children.
“It just makes me feel really good and I can’t wait to see if they respond back or anything,” Lauren Nester said.
The effort has reached outside of the classroom in a couple other ways, too, Semones noted. For one, students have come in before the school day begins to make the origami figures.
Parents who have heard of the effort have also contributed to the growing total of cranes.
The content of “Sadako” has also led to discussions between children and parents about why the United States dropped the bomb at the end of World War II.
This project is part of a reading theme for Semones’ fifth grade students of “paying it forward” and helping others.
In the end, the big lesson is that the Fancy Gap students should be thankful for what they have and they should try and help others who face problems.
“This was our way to let them know we were thinking about them,” Semones said.