Fourth-grade class makes paper cranes to help Japan

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Fourth grade students at Aquebogue Elementary School raised more than $300 to help Japan by selling paper cranes during lunch.

At Aquebogue Elementary School, six fourth grade girls have been giving up their lunch and recess periods for the past few days.

But they say that does not bother them in the slightest.

That’s because the girls have been selling $1 paper cranes during that time, made by themselves and classmates in teacher Linda Borenstein’s fourth-grade class, the proceeds of which will benefit those affected by the earthquake and tsumani in Japan.

“Knowing that we’re doing something  good,”  said fourth-grader Kayla Kielbasa. “We don’t care [about giving up our free time].”

The class decided to make cranes, or tsuru in Japanese, because they are a symbol of peace. “We were reading Time Magazine for Kids and we felt that we needed to help them,” said Emily Bazarewski.

The children learned to fold the origami paper — purchased in part by class members and also provided by the school — and wrote messages of hope folded inside the cranes.

“We went online and found [directions to make the cranes] that was only seven steps,” said fourth-grader Maggie O’Connell.

The students made a few cranes at the end of the school day every day for a week, as well as on their on time. Within a  few days, the class had folded 500 paper cranes, amounting to one for every student at the elementary school.

During lunch time, students from the other grades line up and take one dollar bills out of folded white envelopes to do their part to help the Japanese people. The cranes were sold Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The six girls, who have volunteered their time because the have a different lunch period than the rest of the fourth grade, said they had sold more than 300 cranes in just those three afternoons. The proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.

“The idea just grew and grew,” Kayla said.

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