Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

January 30, 2013

Newtown tragedy focus of student letters

EFFINGHAM — Sacred Heart students "raised the standards" this week by writing letters to religious leaders they have never met in Newtown, Conn.

The school took the Catholic Schools Week theme seriously, encouraging integrity, compassion and volunteerism in students.

Sixth-grade teacher Shauna Albert participated in the committee that set the week up, and was happy to put Newtown on the list.

"It's not a big thing we can do," she said, referring to the letters every student in the school wrote to priests and monsignors who have helped the town through the tragedy. "But it's something small to share our faith, to show them we're still thinking about them."

Younger students made cards and drew pictures, adding empathetic phrases, such as "we're praying for you."

Older students with a greater comprehension of the tragedy wrote longer letters, telling the recipients about themselves.

"The chances are we will probably never meet this priest," Albert told the class. "But they're going to get letters from the entire school, letting them know we're thinking about them."

She took the chance to teach her class about proper letter-writing etiquette, complete with greeting, introduction and closing.

The students also chose their own Bible verses to include in the letters.

Student Becca Webster said writing the letter lets those directly affected by the tragedy know that people care.

"We try to get their minds off it a little," said Braylee Marxmann.

Other students looked at the letters from a do-unto-others approach.

"If there was a tragedy here, it's nice to know that someone would help out here," said Natalie Carie.

The administration also intended for the letters to be a way for students of all ages to cope with the tragedy.

The sixth grade worked on drafts Monday and began to type and personalize the letters Tuesday.

Albert said while younger students weren't given many details about the tragedy, it was nice to see that they understood the importance of supporting the Newtown community.

"We really go above and beyond to teach them to serve others before themselves," said Christy Hakman, director of Marketing and Parish Development at Sacred Heart. "With our faith, we always know that good things come out of tragedy."

Tuesday was also the 100th day of school at Sacred Heart, and was celebrated with raffles, special center time and costumes, all centered around the number 100.

Children in kindergarten, first and second grades dressed up as 100-year-olds, wearing glasses, fake facial hair and their idea of elderly outfits.

Sacred Heart will join St. Thomas, Sigel St. Michael and St. Anthony grade and high schools for Mass and activities Wednesday to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. The schools have activities planned all week long.

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or at nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com.

Text Only
Local News
  • Man fatally shot in Pana standoff, officer wounded

    Illinois State Police(ISP) and Christian County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday, July 29, in rural Christian County that involved ISP SWAT, a Pana Police officer and an armed offender.

    July 29, 2014

  • City to determine contribution A request by Effingham Park District representatives for a million dollars to help construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center is being considered at a special Effingham City Council meeting this evening.Some commissioners questioned

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29 Filming PRIMARY Effingham grad returns to make film Travis Long says he learned a lot from directing his first full-length feature several years ago.“Kill Me Now was a learning experience, both in shooting and distribution,” the 1998 Effingham High School graduate said.With a full production crew and

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ron W.jpg Opinion: Column break just that -- a break

    ‘Hey, Ron. You didn’t have a column this week. What’s the deal? It’s the reason I buy a paper on Thursdays.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Isom.jpg Opinion: It's about time

    Finally, someone else speaks up and it’s about time.
    I applaud Ron Worman and welcome him to take a seat on my bandwagon. His addressing the proliferation of signs of every description, virtually everywhere one looks, is a welcome additional voice — even though rare.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Effingham County was meeting place for underage sex tryst

    An Ohio man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he traveled out of state to meet an underage person in Effingham County for sexual activity.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jail inmate attempts suicide

    An unscheduled cell check is credited for saving the life of an Effingham County Jail inmate who tried to hang himself early Thursday morning.

    July 25, 2014

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.