Red, pink and white colors line the third-grade hall these days at Clay Elementary. The third graders have really been working hard to see just how many Valentines they could get. From the look of their hallway, they achieved their goal.
The third-grade classes at Clay Elementary have recently completed a heart project the children started in February. Third-grade teacher Brenda Strickland came up with the idea, which her students quickly confirmed when they pointed to their teacher when asked who came up with the idea.
And the third graders loved talking about their worldwide project.
“If you have anyone that’s from a different country that you want to get a Valentine from them, then you should,” said Brayden Hicks, when asked about the project.
“We have a ton of them like Aidyn Schackart has a ton of them, and he had some that he didn’t even know,” Lucas Betten explained. Schackart said he got one from Germany because his uncle is stationed there in the military.
Strickland said a lot of the Valentines came from active military.
“We got one from Afganistan from a military person,” Adrionna Dunton said. “We got other ones from the U.K.,” which one of the boys eagerly clarified: “It’s the United Kingdom.”
Trey Dodridge chimed in, “I can’t believe how many places that we got. We got like a hundred!” He also said he did not expect that many.
“We also got some from Vermont,” John Flack said, “’cause that’s the last one we needed, but it took a while for us to get it.”
“We got one from the United Kingdom, we got a few from there,” Addison Willis added.
“We got like three from New Zealand, and it was really cool, because we’re here and New Zealand is way over there,” Elijah Bailey said, pointing far away.
Matthew Franklin piped up and said, “We got one from every state and country around the world.”
Mason Greene said, “It’s crazy how many we got from Michigan,” and then Strickland said the classes decided to love Michigan anyway.
When asked if they thought they would get as many as they did, one student jumped in and said, “No, but it was awesome how many we got!”
The students said, “Some of them actually sent us some other things, like the one from Germany sent us like Germany chocolate. It was cool, like it was fun, even if you didn’t get a card sent to you. Also, some places the cards they sent you played music.”
Collin Haney said, “I was at a family reunion and my aunt Sandy said she was traveling the world and had just came from Las Vegas, and the next day, I got one from her from Las Vegas.”
“They also are going to have a pen pal,” Strickland said, showing a photo of a boy from Sweden who had sent a picture of the flag and gave some facts about his country. A lot of people sent facts, biographies and personal pictures.”
Greyson Isaac added, “Yes, I was amazed that we got Valentines from somewhere across the world.”
Savannah Kleinman said, “I got one from Florida, and it is special, ‘cause I used to live there. We moved from Ohio to Florida, then back to Ohio.”
Levi Jenkins said, “I’m surprised we got all 50 states.”
Brooklyn Keeton then said, “We got them from all over the world.”
Larynn Walker said, “I’m surprised we got all 50 states, even more.”
Brady Hadsell added, “I’m surprised that I got one that was signed in my honor.”
Then Larissa Robinson said, “I’m happy we got all 50 states.”
Karsen Carver said, “I’m just happy we got one from London.”
Jacob Collett added, “I’m surprised we got all the states, and I’m very happy about it.”
Michael Wilburn said, “I am really thrilled that we got Ireland.”
Olivia Hightower said, “I’m really happy I got a lot from my family.” She also had received one from missionaries for her church who are in the Philippines.
Grayson Isaac said, “I’m happy we got one from Berlin, and they let us try out their chocolate.”
Lylian Churchheus added, “I’m surprised we got Valentines from all over the United States.”
And Caden Davis said, “Yes, I only got one, but we share all of them.”
Strickland explained how she got the project set up: “I typed up a letter, sent it home with the students, inviting them to share the letter however they could — with technology and everything, and mailing it, however they could get the word out that we need Valentines from around the world and the United States. We were dreaming big, and that went home with the students, and then their families shared it however they wanted — on Facebook, Twitter, etc. — and it kept getting shared, and going and going, until it reached around the world. And, we received all the Valentines we could possibly receive, I think. To get some from Africa and the places where they didn’t have mail. One was sent through Facebook, and the video from Afganistan, he is a sergeant in the military and he videoed us a Valentine wish.”
At this point, the children intervened, adding that they sent the sergeant one back.
“We are going to Facetime one in Ireland,” Strickland said.
One of the children said they got a Valentine from a place, and that instead of X’s and O’s, they got them in their language. They said they got one from Seoul, South Korea during the Olympics.
As for how many they got from the different countries around the world, it was at least 28 different countries, as there were some from the same countries. And the children received one or more from each state.
Carolyn Ridenour said, “I got one from my grandma, that was from Tybee Island.”
Then Katana Blevins said, “I was amazed we got one from Vermont,” as this was the last state the students were all waiting for one.
Braxton Strickland said, “It was surprising we got over one hundred, so I just think this is exciting to have that happening!”
Madison Carver said, “Vermont sent us a string with hearts on them. They had no idea that we were using hearts to mark the maps.”
And Craig Conley said, “My favorite was from London, because they had a lot of velvet on it.”
The group received at least one from each state, most more than one, however, Kansas, Oklahoma, Delaware and South Dakota were the only states to send one Valentine for the students.
What a great accomplishment for such a young age to achieve. Strickland was very proud of her students, and they were excited about the way their project turned out — they could not say enough about it. Not only did they receive a tremendous amount of Valentines, but they learned so much about places around the world and how far things can get shared. Hearts off to this great little group.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins at 740-353-3101 ext.1928
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