Tragedy still offering students a chance to help and learn

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    STANHOPE-The air was thick with excitement as Stanhope School students hurried into the auditorium to present their check for the Asia tsunami victims to the American Red Cross. For days prior to this assembly, the students made bracelets and pins to sell at $1 each. The girls and boys braided strands of materials to create the bracelets and hand-painted pieces of foam in the shape of hearts, which were made into pins. Many students donated not only their recess and after-school time, but also the materials to make the stock. The weeks following saw parents taking the jewelry to work to sell to colleagues, grandmothers selling to their bingo groups and local businesses joining in the sale of the pieces. Art teacher Sara O'Neill, who conceived the artwork featured on the pins, listened to suggestions from the students who wanted the pins to be hearts or the sun. She incorporated both ideas and added an ocean wave. "Even though the wave is the upsetting part, it was important to bring it in. The heart is to show the love and support that is coming from around the world, and the sun is that there is a bright future ahead," said O'Neill. Kristi Schutz, Director of Programs and Services for Sussex County American Red Cross, showed the students a short video of the relief works done with donations such as theirs. The highlight of the children's day came when they presented Schutz with a check for $1,716, representing the work accomplished by 72 fourth- and fifth-graders. "You have done a wonderful thing. We are supplying clean drinking water, food, and tents to the victims, and are working to vaccinate the children. Your money will go a very long way in achieving that goal," said Schutz after accepting the check. "When somebody was in need and they needed your help, you lent a helping hand," said Principal Nick Brown. "You have provided a community service not just to Stanhope, but to the world." Inspired by the younger students, the sixth-graders began their own project making pillows from lessons they learned in their Family and Consumer Sciences class. For three weeks, the students sewed the pillows during lunch and recess and donated 100 percent of the proceeds. Many used their allowances to purchase the fabric, thread, and filling for their creations. The class presented a check for $170. As part of the ceremony, students read comments on what they learned from the project. "What I like most about making the pins and bracelets was that we were helping people in need when they were down and out," said Christina Dimitriou. "I'm glad I did this project because we wanted to raise money for people that lost family members and friends," said Armando Taddei. "So I think this project was just a great idea!"