Sunday, May 27, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on January 10th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 44 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 44

Students make 'snow' for Sandy Hook survivors


A small group of local students and their families recently took some time out of their winter breaks to make decorative snowflakes for the children and staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School, which was ravaged by a gunman in mid December.

Amy Otremba, art teacher at Joe Nightingale Elementary School, was recently host to an arts and crafts day at her home, where 20 children and their family members cut and decorated snowflakes for the children and staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Amy Vice Otremba was teaching art to the kindergarteners at Joe Nightingale Elementary School in Orcutt when her husband texted her about the shooting.

“It was obviously very upsetting,” she said. “I was with my kindergarteners and ... .”

It later turned out that Otremba had another connection to the school: Her good friend’s cousin who teaches at the school and the PTA asked other schools to send them snowflakes to decorate their new facility. The Sandy Hook students went back to school earlier this month in a different building.

“I felt, as a mom, if my kids were going back to school, there should be a way to make it special,” Otremba said, struggling to hold back tears. “They asked for lots of glitter and sparkles.”

So the art teacher posted on her Facebook account that she would be holding an arts and crafts session at her home. She ended up getting 20 children, in kindergarten through seventh grade, from 10
different schools.

Otremba set up two stations: one with “simple glitter and glue” for the children, and another with hot glue and beads for the older students. She also had pre-made ornaments and markers on hand for special needs children.

All of the children signed a letter to the Sandy Hook students and staff members. It was sent to Connecticut with 30 to 35 sparkling snowflakes made with love.

“Our seventh graders knew [the snowflakes] were for the kids at Sandy Hook,” she said. “We told the younger kids they were for some kids who had been hurt.”

Otremba said her school’s principal asked the teachers “to let innocent children be innocent” and to not tell them about the shootings. She acknowledged that other educators have taken different approaches.

“We did talk about there being bad things that happen in the world and that some kids got hurt,” she said.

Last Otremba heard, the Sandy Hook PTA has received thousands of snowflakes.

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