Gypsum students take science lesson to heart | VailDaily.com

Gypsum students take science lesson to heart

Lucas Comroe and Destiny Reyes count money donated to help relief efforts for children and animals in Japan.

GYPSUM, Colorado – Timing is everything, and when third-graders at Gypsum Elementary School were studying natural disasters in science class, an horrific string of them hit Japan.

You’ve seen pictures and video of the devastation; so have the students. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the tsunami that followed in its wake. Then the radiation leak from the nuclear power plants.

The students spoke, via Skype, with Akiko, a Japanese woman whose family still lives in Sendai, Japan.

“My family have endured hundreds of earthquakes every day, and are so afraid of another big one that they sleep in clothes instead of pajamas,” Akiko told the local students. “Kids are being sent to live with relatives and attend school elsewhere while adults clean up and rebuild.”

The students wanted to know how they could help people half a world away. They soon learned that everything costs money, so they set about raising some for people and animals in Japan.

“Our students were humbled and silenced once they heard about the natural disaster in Japan,” said Heather Marner, a third-grade teacher at Gypsum Elementary.

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They did some research about what Japan was going through, wrote three paragraph speeches and presented them to their classmates. Besides the basics, each speech contained a persuasive plea for donations.

They raised more than $325.

“The presentations were optional but all of the students wanted to be leaders and make a difference,” Marner said. “The students have put a lot of time and effort into their presentations.”

As the discussions and speeches continued, students became concerned about not only the people in Japan, but also the animals. So they decided to send the money to Save the Children and Global Animal.org.

Save the Children fund donations are used exclusively to help provide disaster relief and support for Japanese children by providing immediate relief and restoring education and child care in Japanese communities in the future.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.