'Hugging Hearts' spread positivity and Sandy Hook awareness

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., Feb. 28, 2013
The Student Council members show some of the hearts as they prepare to hang them on the school's walls. Photos by Steve Smith.
The Student Council members show some of the hearts as they prepare to hang them on the school's walls. Photos by Steve Smith.

The Student Council at Northeast School chose a project this year that is aimed at honoring the students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and spreading some positivity in their own community at the same time. The idea stemmed from discussions at the council's meeting, and combined the suggested Valentine's theme and wanting to do something related to the Newtown tragedy.

The resulting project had the council cutting out hearts from construction paper, and for a small donation, anyone in the school community could have their own positive message put on the heart, which is then hung on the school's walls. Small hearts are just 10 cents, while the larger hearts are 25 cents, and the proceeds will go to create a “sunshine garden” in the spring, as a remembrance of those lost at Sandy Hook.

“We just brainstormed ideas, and it just kind of happened,” said Desirae, 11, a fifth-grade Student Council member. “We thought of the idea of hearts, and then putting postive messages on them and how it will 'hug' our school when we're finished.”

Students handed out order slips, explaining the project, and asking donors how many hearts they would like, and what messages they want to display. The council members then transcribed the messages onto the hearts themselves and hung them in the school's corridors.

“It's a really good idea,” said Molly, 8. “It was fun to do it in Student Council, and to write everything.”

“I think it's nice, because it's something positive for our school, and to help remember the students at Sandy Hook,” Desirae said.

Student Council Advisors Erin Pelletier and Cindy Shea said the school's staff and students have bought a lot of the hearts, and the project has brought in more than $200 for the cause so far.

“They've been working really hard,” Pelletier said.

The students liked reading the messages as they came in, and had found favorites. “My family is so sweet,” said Molly, citing her favorite example.

“I love all the teachers and staff at Northeast School,” Desirae said, citing hers.

Molly and Desirae also crafted a dialogued announcement, which reminded students of the heart program. The hearts were sold beginning in early February, and the project was originally expected to end on Valentine's Day, but the orders kept coming in, and is expected to continue as long as they do.

Designs for the garden are in the conceptual phase, but the students are brainstorming some great ideas. “We're going to have flowers and rocks,” Molly said, “and maybe a tree with rocks around it - maybe with some of the names of the children.”

The students said the hearts contribute to the positive atmosphere at the school, while also making the brick walls much more decorative.

“It makes the school look positive,” Desirae said. “Hopefully, we'll have all the walls covered, so it's like they are hugging Northeast School.”


<3 <3 <3

It is so wonderful to see someone focusing on the childrens' fears and grief over all of this. Everyone needs to remember to hug your kids just a little tighter everyday. THEY heard all the news, just like WE grown ups did...didn't WE need an extra hug of reassurance after all that??? Imagine how much THEY need it going to school every day. This warms my heart and I want to say THANK YOU to all the people who are making this happen. ♥ ♥ ♥

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