LINCOLN PARK — About 600 students at a Lincoln Park elementary school came together last week to make blankets for those in need and to create snowflake letters to send to students in Newtown, Conn.
The students at Oscar Mayer Magnet School ranging from 3-year-olds to 13-year-old made about 60 blankets throughout the day Wednesday and created more than 100 snowflake letters with positive messages for the Connecticut students.
Connecticut's Parent Teacher Student Association has requested homemade snowflakes to welcome back students at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the scene of the country's second-deadliest school shooting last Friday.
"I think it's amazing," said Max Kroll, a 6th grader who is also on the student council. "We are really helping out a lot of people."
The annual blanket project, which is in its seventh year, pairs older students with younger students to create the blankets, which will be donated to the Lincoln Park Community Shelter and an area nursing home over the holidays.
"All my energy goes into it," said 12-year-old Morgan Bensky, who is on the school's student council. "It's worth it when I see all the smiles."
Students also wrote letters to their choice of either a Chicago Police officer, a Chicago firefighter, a soldier or a resident of a nursing home during the all-day event Tuesday.
Melissa Hooker, a music teacher at the school and student council sponsor, started the blanket project when she first began teaching at the school and said the day-long event has bridged a divide in the school between grade levels.
"I try to get the kids to realize the world is bigger than them," she said.
Hooker said she left it up to the students to decide who they wanted to write the letters to and said her only instruction for those creating a snowflake to send to Newtown was to send a positive message.
"I tried not to say anything about what happened there," she said. "I just said try to write happy thoughts."