Peace, Hope, Love and Joy—the words are used quite often at this time of year. But this year, they take on a deeper meaning for children, families, and teachers in Connecticut who are trying to heal from unthinkable heartbreak.
Schools all over the country have packed their wishes for healing into simple art projects for the grieving community. Cinnaminson’s compassionate teachers and students wasted no time pitching in to help.
Sherry Spier, Cinnaminson Schools' media specialist coordinator, contacted all four of Cinnaminson’s schools after reading an article online and learning that the Sandy Hook PTA was asking for snowflake donations to decorate their new school.
“I thought this would be the best way to provide a little comfort and support to the students and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary," Spier said. "As an educator and a parent of two young children, my heart goes out to all the families affected by this horrific act.”
Spier asked each school to make simple snowflakes.
“Each snowflake will be unique and special, just like the children and staff that were involved in this event," Spier added.
Spier will be collecting snowflakes until Jan. 10.
As soon as the word spread that the Connecticut school was looking for snowflake donations, the glitter, scissors and glue began flying around classrooms. Small but busy hands went right to work in our elementary schools creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind snowflakes to send comfort to survivors of the tragedy in Newtown. High school and middle school students worked diligently to stuff all of their holiday wishes into their snowy creations.
“We want them to feel happy, welcome and safe,” said fifth-graders Kylie R. and Reese T., who added that making the snowflakes was fun and it made them feel good to do something nice for the children in Connecticut.
A snowflake is often said to symbolize hope, purity, and innocence, most of which was lost on a cold December morning for many in Newtown. But as we so often learn when tragedy hits, the human spirit is strong and resilient.
The children and staff from Sandy Hook Elementary School will walk through the doors of their new school in January and start over. They will be greeted with a blizzard of white, sparkly snowflakes— signs of peace, hope, love, joy and healing sent from miles away. Thanks to the kindness of nameless strangers, the victims of this senseless crime will be reminded that there are good and kind people in the world.
The memories and spirits of those lost in Newtown will live on. No one will forget the selflessness and bravery shown by teachers and administrators trying to protect the children; or the stories of the sweet, energetic children who were taken from our world way too soon.
Hopefully, the unique snowflakes created by Cinnaminson’s children will help to keep their memories alive; and provide survivors with a twinkling of peace, a glimmer of hope and a sprinkling of love, joy and healing.
One can only hope.
“Snowflakes are some of nature's most fragile things, but just look what happens when they stick together.” Anonymous
On this Christmas Eve, my heart hurts for the families in Newtown, Connecticut and I hope that my thoughts and prayers for Peace, Love, Hope, Joy and Healing find them. I also feel proud of our schools and students for taking the time to make a difference. Small gestures sometimes have the biggest impacts.