HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Students at Mechanicsville Elementary School are reaching out to students in Florida after the deadly school shooting with a special project.
“Everything just stopped.”
February 14, should have been a day filled with love, but for Tamara Letter, it left like Sandy Hook all over again.
“Just grappling with the realities that we’re faced with another situation that’s beyond our control,” she added.
Letter is an institutional technologist at Mechanicsville Elementary. She found her passion for “Kindness Projects,” or acts of kindness, right around the time of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Ct.
The students have been working on “Kindness Projects” all year, funded by a grant for Hanover County.
They happened to be working on one of them when tragedy struck Parkland, that’s when the 5th graders decided to dedicate their work to the students affected.
“It was an immediate paralysis of mindset of what to do,” she said, thinking about what happened in Parkland.
On Valentine’s Day, she was working with students on another project, painting rocks with words and phrases to spread joy around the campus. The project was funded by a grant and was inspired by “RVA Rocks.”
“I was wondering, what on earth can we possibly do to go across those state lines.,” Letter added.
Her idea: ask the 5th graders if they would share these “Kindness Rocks” with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Teachers didn’t go in depth about what happened, telling the students there was a tragedy.
“Put a bit of joy into their school,” elementary school student Samantha, 10, said.
“It makes them feel good inside, and happy, because of what happened,” said Mackenzie, another classmate.
Letter transformed seventeen of the rocks into memorials.
“So that way each of those lives that were lost – their names could be remembered,” Letter said.
Student to student, sharing a ray of hope.
“Let them be happy and always remember that there’s always a bright side,” student Bethany said.
Show no matter how small, kindness goes a long way.
“It’s very evident that we needed to do more with kindness,” Letter said. “We needed to do more with teaching out children the best ways to feel empowered, to do the right thing, to make a difference in the world and to be the good.”
The rocks will be mailed to Parkland, Fl. soon.
Part of the project is about engaging on social media, kind of like “RVA Rocks.” Click here to get an up close look at the project.