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Pupils vent in drawings, letters



Published: Wed, September 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Youngsters put their thoughts in drawings, letters andjournal entries.

By JoANNE VIVIANO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- If Dina Campolito could send a gift to families of the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy, she would send a Bible.

"To say that I'm praying for them," said the eighth-grade Canfield Village Middle School pupils. "And if they ever feel sad, lost or scared, they could pray."

Classmate Brett Grabman would send a Christmas ornament, a gift to take suffering families back to a happier time.

Kim Mason would send a cross, to say "keep the faith, have faith in everything you believe in," and a flag to show "we have to stick together."

As for Kyle Banna, he'd send needed food supplies to workers digging through rubble, searching for survivors.

Although the pupils won't send actual gifts to New York, they will be sending their wishes. As part of an eighth-grade art project, pupils are drawing packages tied with string, opening to show pictures of their gifts inside. They will be sent to the city and posted where mourners can see them, said Assistant Principal Cathy Mowry.

It is just one of several projects pupils have participated in since the terrorist attacks.

Heartfelt letters: The school's 246 sixth-graders, in language arts classes, opened their hearts to police officers and firefighters, writing letters to explain how they felt about the attacks and to thank them for the work they do. Some wrote to local police and fire departments. Others wrote to the ones they have seen on television news reports.

Some letters have crayon drawings of the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, the presidential seal or other patriotic icons. All of the letters express gratitude.

"It made me feel a little better because I was doing something, not just sitting there," said Donnie Lewis. "I felt helpless before. Now I don't."

Audra Frimpong said participating helped her see how "just a little person, just a young person can help."

Canfield Joint Fire District Chief Robert Tieche said he was "humbled by what I read in all the letters."

"What you wrote was outstanding," he told the youngsters during a visit to the school Monday. Letters will be posted in each of Canfield's fire stations and in the city and township municipal buildings, he said.

Paul Lasky, Canfield police school resource officer, said the letters will show the rest of the department how the children feel.

"I know you appreciate me and I know you appreciate the police department," he said. "... I can take these letters and let other men and women on the police department read how appreciative you are."

Tieche and Lasky said some of the letters also would be forwarded to relief workers at the sites of the tragedies.

Caring wall: A third project at the school involves all grades. After reading journal entries of some pupils, Mowry decided to create "Our Caring Wall" in the school lobby, where the youngsters could post their thoughts.

"I think it's great that everybody cares and wants to help," said eighth-grader Danielle Mordocco. Paige Kasten, an eighth-grader who wrote her journal entry the night of the attacks, said most items on the wall show shock and fear of more attacks.

"Some are similar [to mine], some aren't," added Bill Herron, another eighth-grader who posted some thoughts of sadness, grief and loss. "Some have different feelings of hate and anger, but all of them have sorrow."

viviano@vindy.com




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