Symbols of peace

Sherry Martell
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Tatamagouche school students fold, send origami cranes to Japan

TATAMAGOUCHE - An idea that took flight at Tatamagouche Elementary School about seven years ago has soared to new heights with global connections.
Students in Sandy Lockerby's Grade 5/6 class have folded 1,000 origami cranes while learning about the victims of the atomic bombing of the City of Hiroshima, Japan. The class plans to send the symbols of peace to be displayed at the city's Children's Peace
"I think it's a good way to support the people who have diseases from the atomic bomb," said Kevin Doyle, the Grade 5 student that folded the 1,000th crane, completing the school project.
"I think it's a nice thing to do to remember the people who died from the bomb," said student Noah Barrett.
The cranes are known as symbols of peace that can be traced to a young girl named Sadako Sasaki who died of leukemia 10 years after the atomic bombing of her home.
When she was hospitalized, her best friend gave her a golden origami crane and told her about a Japanese legend that says anyone who folds a thousand cranes would be granted one wish. The young girl began to make cranes of her own with any paper she could find in the hospital, but finished only 644 when she died eight months later. Her friends completed the task, burying all of them with her.
A statue of Sadako holding a golden crane now stands in the Peace Memorial Park and about 10 million cranes from all over the world are displayed at the Children's Peace Monument, also called the Tower of a Thousand Cranes.
"I thought it was kind of cool because millions of other people from other classes have made a 1,000 cranes too," said student Colin MacDonald.
Lockerby said the origami project fit well with the class curriculum while creating a global awareness for her students.
"It gives them a bigger picture of the world, some compassion and empathy," said the
Lockerby credits her colleague Heather Forbes for inspiring the class to begin folding the cranes.
Forbes said for years the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, written by American author Eleanor Coerr, has been read in her Grade 1/2 classroom and she had set out several times to encourage students to fold enough origami birds to send but was never able to finish the task.
"It's exciting," said Forbes. "I wish they were my kids and I think it's a really nice connection for them to make."
Arabella Heighton folded several cranes said it was a little tricky to get the folds just right at first but once the pattern was started the birds began to form easily, a meaningful school project she won't soon forget.
"It's carved into our minds," she said.
The school's name and its message for peace will also be entered into the paper crane database for posterity.

Organizations: Tatamagouche Elementary School, Grade 5

Geographic location: Japan, TATAMAGOUCHE, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

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