NJHS sends letters to Newtown students
By Jana Copeland
On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 first grade students and six adults from the Sandy Hook Elementary School were killed during a shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The impact of this tragedy has been felt throughout the world, across the nation, and even in the community of Nashville.
The seventh, eighth and ninth graders of Nashville Junior High School, along with the faculty, signed letters that were sent to Newtown in response to the loss of so many innocent lives.
Deb Wallis, junior high counselor heard about the shooting and looked on the Internet for articles to hand out to the teachers, in case the students wanted to talk about it. These articles gave them a sense of direction on how to handle the situation and gave them some ideas on how to help the students cope.
Wallis has learned from past experiences that the kids enjoy getting involved in any way possible. Wallis is the sponsor of the NJHS Student Council. She asked the students within this group if they would like to take part in this.
They answered, saying that they wanted to sponsor this act of compassion. “I felt like this would be a good way for the kids to get involved in what’s going on throughout the nation. It is a great opportunity for the students to say something.”
This led her to the idea of typing a generic letter to show the people of the community and those who lost their loved ones that people from all around have heard about the tragedy and that our sympathy goes out to them.
She printed the letters out on different colored pieces of paper and signed them NJHS. With Student Council sponsoring the good deed and the letter already typed up, the members of Student Council set up a table in front of the office during both lunches, encouraging other students to sign a letter and turn it back in.
The students were also encouraged to write a note on the side or bottom to make it personal, but they were not forced to. “There was such a great support from the students and teachers. They really took this seriously and I am so proud of the group of kids we have and the adults that they are surrounded by,” Wallis said.
Being a part of this was helpful for the students and they were extremely eager to get involved. When the members asked the students to join in on the effort, they responded so well and in a positive way. She said that this was a practical thing that they could do at the moment, and it wouldn’t cost them any money. After the great number of signees, all the letters were put in a large envelope and given Mr. Latito Williams, assistant principal of Nashville Junior High. He took that envelope to Charles and Jeanne Hubbard of Nashville. Their daughter lives close to Newtown, and knew many of the victims’ family members.
She took the letters to a place where they would be best used, but Wallis has not been notified on where they actually went.
The kids appreciated the opportunity to give something to try to help the families and friends of the tragic deaths cope with the situation.
“I would just like to say that I really appreciate the students doing this. The students at NJHS have such good and kind hearts and we have a great group of kids, and I mean that!” Wallis said.
Hopefully, this will help the people of Newtown, Conn., as well as students and teachers in Nashville deal with the horrific event that unfolded on that tragic day in our country’s history, she said.