Emily Dennis, left, and Cassie McAllister encourage fellow Whitehall High School students to fill out Valentine’s hearts for students in the Newtown, Connecticut school district during their lunch hour Monday. That district’s Sandy Hook Elementary School
This coming Thursday is Valentine’s Day - that special day in which people express their love for each other.
Whitehall High School junior Cassie McAllister wants to use that special day for her and her fellow Whitehall District Schools students to share their love with the students in Newtown, Connecticut - which have experienced the evil of a mass shooting in which a perpetrator killed 26 elementary students and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Dec. 14 after first shooting and killing his mother, and then later killing himself.
Cassie hopes Whitehall students will send 4,000 heart-shaped Valentine’s cards to the Newtown students.
To share the love, McAllister, with help from her mother, cut out 4,000 hearts from construction paper, and is having students in grade K-12 fill out the hearts with messages and pictures expressing love.
“I want them (students) to know we’re still thinking of them,” said McAllister, who is doing this effort of love for her National Honor Society project.
She is getting help from fellow students, Rebecca Beeghly, Emily Dennis, Hannah Zwemer who also helped cut hearts, and Brayden Berson.
Emily was all in from the start. “I think I’ve made 800 cards,”she said. “I like to color.”
McAllister said she wanted to do something to show support for the students of Newtown before Christmas, but didn’t have enough time to plan before the holiday break for students.
After the holidays, she dove into the project.
“Mr. Bailey (Shoreline Elementary School principal) was very helpful in allowing me to borrow a cutting machine to make the heart shapes,” she said. “He let us take it home so my mom and I could do the work together.” Cassie said it took her mom and her two nights to cut out the hearts.
Then, Cassie took hearts to Shoreline and Ealy elementary schools, and Whitehall Middle School for students to fill out. “We gave 30 hearts to each of the core teachers for their students.”
At the high school, Cassie, and her helpers sat at a table during lunch hours encouraging fellow students to fill out hearts while they ate. They had markers for students to use. On Monday, Cassie, Emily and Brayden were at the table during the second lunch period, and Cassie said Rebecca sat at the table during the first lunch period.
On Monday, Cassie said she planned to pick up the completed Valentines, and by the end of the week mail them and a poster to the Newtown, Connecticut school students to express Whitehall students’ love for the Newtown students.