Local students make snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary children

Project to help decorate new school in Newtown

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Class starts back Thursday for Sandy Hook Elementary School students.

The children haven't attended school since a gunman killed 20 of their schoolmates and six adults in a rampage a few weeks ago.

The students will attend a new school, and some St. Johns County students are contributing to the new building.

Children and parents of Durbin Kids Care Club are answering the call from Sandy Hook Elementary to make snowflakes to help decorate their new school in Newtown, Conn.

There was an email asking groups to create snowflakes for the Sandy Hook students so when they go back to school they can walk into a winter wonderland.

"It's been great," St. Johns County mother Heather Patterson said. "I think they are excited to help in any way they can. I don't know if they can fully grasp or comprehend what happened, but I think sending something to somebody that they know is in need just makes them feel good inside."

The St. Johns County children are aware of why they're making the snowflakes.

"For the people that died in the school," student Olivia Record said.

"It feels good like to give the kids what they need," student Sophie Bullock added.

Parents in the Durbin Crossing community are really passionate about helping and are pleased with the turn out of kids.

"I think it's a really special project and I think that it touches a lot of hearts and people are excited to help in a small way if they can," said Heather West, of Durbin Kids Care Club.

"It was heartbreaking," Patterson added. "We wanted to reach out and let them know no matter how much time passes, they are still in our thoughts and they're not alone."

An open house was held Wednesday at a repurposed school for students who attended Sandy Hook Elementary. It was at a former middle school building in nearby Monroe. Workers and teachers have been getting the space ready, painting, moving furniture and recreating classroom spaces.

Counselors say it's important for children to get back to a normal routine.

Local parents say they can't imagine what the families are going through and are just glad they can help in a small way.

"You can't send money or dry goods or canned goods," West said. "You don't know what to send. So when they asked for (snowflakes), I was like, 'I can send that, I can do that, it's an easy project."

The St. Johns County children have made about 500 snowflakes for the Sandy Hook students. They will send the box off Thursday so the decorations can arrive in time for school to start.

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