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Edgewater Man Posts a QR Code for Sandy Hook Victims

By Benjamin Woodard | December 20, 2012 1:08pm

EDGEWATER — The black squares and rectangles printed on the paper on a tree outside Tom Welch's Edgewater home form his personal memorial to the victims of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Welch designed a QR code, which when scanned with a smartphone, reveals a message: the names of the 26 people killed in the attack on the school in Newtown.

"I was so touched by what happened as an educator and a principal," said 59-year-old Tom Welch, who posted the encoded message outside his home on Thorndale Avenue near Senn High School.

He also made a sidewalk chalk drawing of the school, topped with an American flag at half-staff and wrote "Show Love Everyday" nearby.

Welch, an education consultant and former teacher and principal, has been posting messages on the tree just outside his home office window for months now for students who pass by.

For Thanksgiving, a drawing of a turkey accompanied the QR code that read, "Stay Fit! How many steps will you need to take to burn off the 340 calories of 6 ounces of turkey? You can also answer in approximate distance. First person to tell Ms. Lofton gets $5."

Susan Lofton, the principal of Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave., said she's already given away a couple of $5 bills to observant students.

Welch, who often travels around the country as an educational consultant, said that although he had little interest in traditional volunteer roles at Senn, such as being a tutor, he wanted to "thin the walls" of the high school to get students more interested in the world around them.

"It's a part of my quest [to tell children] that over there in that building is not the only place to learn," Welch said.