Pearl River Middle School students spent a period of their day Friday making snowflake decorations for the Snowflakes for Sandy Hook.
That left Pearl River Middle School Principal Maria Paese with one small problem. They were just too big to mail, so she will be delivering them personally Wednesday.
"The kids worked on the snowflakes (Thursday) and we have a couple of bins full," Paese said. "We have so many and some of them are so big, I'm going up with another teacher (Cathy Gallagher). We're going to drive them to Hamdem, CT (home of the Connecticut PTA)."
Paese said she offered to stay and help decorate, but the Newtown community is doing that. She will instead help sort through the decorations as they arrive. She said she is checking with other building principals to see if there are more snowflakes to bring up.
"The teachers and everybody focused on what good can we do," Paese said. "That's what Snowflakes for Sandy Hook wanted. No messages. They wanted it a happy, cheerful thing so when the kids go into the building, they have something nice to walk into."
"I am very proud of the efforts by our middle school principal, assistant principal, students and staff in initiating this wonderfuul effort to comfort and support the students and staff of Newtown schools," Pearl River Superintendent Dr. John Morgano wrote via email. "Maria Paese, iddle school principal, is to be commended for her efforts and compassion for those in need in the Newtown schools."
The National PTA sent out a letter last week asking for help in decorating the new building where Sandy Hook Elementary School students will go when classes resume.
When school resumes for Sandy Hook, it will be in a new building. Parent-volunteers are working to ensure that the students are welcomed back by a winter wonderland with the entire school decorated with as many unique snowflakes as possible. We encourage senders to be as creative as possible, remembering that no two snowflakes are alike. Please make and send snowflakes by January 12, 2013 to the Connecticut PTSA address at the end of this email.
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514
Snowflakes will be arriving from all over Rockland County. All four schools in Nanuet made them this week, mailing them out Friday.
“I found out about the snowflake initiative Thursday night - and, as Friday was our last day before the break, I forwarded the note to the district art teachers,” said Nanuet HS Art Teacher Laura Nicholls. "On my part, I explained briefly the initiative and told the students how wonderful it would be to welcome the elementary students back to the display of snowflakes throughout their new building. I had a junior art student, Danielle DiModugno, teach the underclassmen her unique, yet beautiful, process of creating a snowflake. All students were excited to create as many as time allowed throughout their individual art periods."
Nicholls printed out and posted the note she received about the snowflake initiative in the faculty room to help spread the word to other teachers. This note is attached to the article and is from Bonny Marsicano of the Newtown PTA.
"In addition, the Student Senate, under the leadership of Shovanne Davis (Sr Student Senate President) began a 'loose change' collection for the Newtown Memorial - so all in all it was a busy, yet heartfelt day," said Nicholls.
Nicholls added that she mailed out about 150 snowflakes from her students and the combined total for all schools was well above 500.
"After the moment of silence (Friday), some students had some questions about the tragedy," Nanuet High School teacher Sheri Dempsey said. "We had brief discussions about what had occurred and that Nanuet schools are here to keep the students safe. Those same students were in my math enrichment period, so I decided to focus on something positive we could do for both the students of Sandy Hook and the students of Nanuet."
"During enrichment, I spoke to the students about how the children from Newtown would be opening a new school in Monroe and the PTA wanted to make it a winter wonderland for those students. When I explained that they were asking students from all over to make snowflakes for them and mail them in, the students got very excited. It was a positive experience all around."
Dempsey said she planned to make more with another group of students before the deadline.
Nyack schools sent a letter home to parents asking them to send their children in to their schools with completed snowflakes by Jan 9 or to mail them to the Connecticut PTA in Hamdem.
New City Library is also participating, asking anyone who wishes to send a snowflake to bring it to collection bins in their children's library. They will mail the snowflakes they receive Jan. 8.
The Clarkstown PTA is organizing a program Jan. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Felix Festa Middle School, though some classes in the district have already made snowflakes.