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NEWS | Feb. 1, 2010

Randolph elementary art students make, sell clay "Hearts for Haiti" quake victims

By Sean Bowlin 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

All art classes at Randolph Elementary School - as well as faculty and staff members - are creating and selling clay hearts to raise money to help Haitian earthquake victims.

"The goal is to raise $6,000 - that's ten dollars per heart and that also represents one heart for every student in the school here," said Linda Heier, RES art teacher. "So far, we've raised $3,400."

Ms. Heier said soon after the quake in Haiti, students were talking in class about the devastation there. So, teachers took time out to discuss it in class as a teaching moment. It was then they heard several students wondering aloud if just one person could make a difference.

Ms. Heier then said she and several other teachers discussed the students' thoughts.

"The children were really worked up about the quake," she added.

Eventually, students and teachers collaborated to form teams in Ms. Heier's art classes. Students press and texturize clay, make heart-shaped molds, stamp the clay hearts out, and assemble the clay sides of the hearts together. The hearts are then kiln-fired and glazed twice, painted and sold to the public.

"We set our goals for sales after doing the math. The students, by doing this, are learning about teamwork - and things like marketing skills, plus supply and demand," Ms. Heier said.

Two of Mrs. Heier's fourth-grade heart-making art students, Hector Ortega and Angelique Salazar, said they were happy to assist the victims -- and this seemed like a good way to do so.

"There are stories about kids who got hurt there and can't get medicine," Hector said. They're running out of it over in Haiti. Maybe the money from this will help buy some."

Angelique agreed and added, "It also makes me happy to help people there that need homes and money more than we do here."

Randolph Elementary School principal Karen Bessette said she was very proud of the spirit of giving and helping those in need at her school.

"We had kindergartners coming in with birthday money after emptying their piggy banks, all to buy hearts to raise money for the effort," Ms. Bessette said. "One little boy said he could get more toys and more money later -- but the people in Haiti needed the money now."

And as long as Haitian quake victims need assistance, Ms. Heier's teaching assistant said RES students will be there to make a heart.

"The kids here have really embraced the concept of 'one person, one team,'" said Jodi Boshart. "And we'll keep helping just as long as we can."