Beaconsfield High School students are sending love and compassion thousands of miles away – and they're doing it with a little help from the community.
The students, under the supervision of Grade 9 and 10 English teacher Jesse Hayes, are putting together a care package of 700 'medals' adorned with messages of love, support and hope to the students from Sandy Hook elementary school in the wake of the shooting incident that left 26 of the school's students and staff members dead Dec. 14.
Hayes said the idea came from the students on a class day when Hayes decided to discuss the topic in class.
"It began as a class conversation," Hayes said. "The kids took ownership, and started coming with one idea after the next (as to what could be done). The first thing that blew my mind was how empowered they were by the incident. They said 'we're not going to stand back and do nothing,' said Hayes, a Pierrefonds resident.
The students finally settled on the idea of sending paper 'gold medals' for bravery to the Sandy Hook survivors, each medal adorned with a handwritten message that the students came up with, Hayes mentioned.
They read 'you don't have to be big or tough. You are a hero in everyone's eyes. Love, your teenage friends at Beaconsfield High, Quebec, Canada,' and the students' ability to take the bull by the horns and get the project underway was something that prompted a emotional response from their teacher.
"I'm completely inspired," she said. "It was just amazing to see their faces. With all these people crying, they went right to work. It's hard to explain what that's like. It's so much bigger than the usual classroom work. The kids were on a mission," she said.
Initially, the group thought they would be unable to attach the medals to proper ribbons – ribbons cost about 75 cents each and with 400 medals made, the cost would have been too high for the students, but Pointe Claire Trophy donated the ribbons when Hayes called to inquire about costs.
"It was such a tragedy," said Pointe Claire Trophy co-owner Mario Dupras, "that when (Hayes) called me to ask about the cost, I asked 'what was it for?' and I was like, 'you can have the ribbons.' We always try to help people I the community. It['s a good cause, and IU'm glad we were able to help," he said.