New Castle News

February 15, 2014

Fifth-graders’ hearts in the right place

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Six fifth-graders at George Washington Intermediate Elementary School won a lot of hearts for Valentine’s Day.

And they sold just about as many.

Their special Valentine project has generated funds that will help a community cause, plus it made the school’s 710 students and their teachers happy for a day.

The gifted students of Kimberly Krueger, gifted/learning support teacher at George Washington Intermediate School, made more than 1,200 Valentine hearts of red, pink and white construction paper and sold them to students for 25 cents apiece.

They encouraged the buyers to write uplifting messages on them to friends or school staff and they delivered them to the recipients Friday for Valentine’s Day. Each heart had a pencil and a heart-shaped eraser glued to it to look like an arrow.

The money generated is being donated to the Bair Foundation in New Wilmington, a Christian social services ministry for youth and families.

Brian Popovich, assistant principal, explained the project to the New Castle school board Monday, and the board presented the six students with the district’s monthly Pride and Promise award.

The students involved were Logan Gibson, Dante Mangieri, Gavyn Hansotte, Peyton Green, Alison Lloyd and Nina Reider.

“They’re approaching the $170 mark and are still going,” principal Joe Anderson said Wednesday. “This is all in quarters that we’re talking about.”

Friday, the total was $314.

Popovich said the students plan to present a check to the Bair Foundation next week.

The idea evolved from brainstorming between Krueger and the students about projects for February.

“A few of them had the idea to try to help someone out and help students,” she said.

Krueger donated the heart-shaped erasers.

Gavyn said the Bair Foundation was chosen for the donation because it will be easy to deliver the money. His mother, Rhonda Hansotte, works there as a secretary and will deliver the check.

Logan said the other aspect of the project is to raise spirits.

“We’re making our friends happy, and if someone’s having a bad day, we can uplift their day with a message,” he said.

The students typically take decorated boxes or bags to school to collect Valentines from classmates.

“Some kids might not get a Valentine, and we’re going to make extras so everyone gets one,” Peyton said.

“I really like the project because it showed us we had to take a lot of responsibility to do it. We had to keep track of a lot of different things,” Alison pointed out.

Some teachers bought enough hearts to distribute to their entire classrooms, she said.

Dante likened the project to running a business.

“It may seem easy to do this, but it takes a lot of work ethic and responsibility, and each of us had our own particular job to fill,” he explained.

For example, two students sell the hearts. Another sorts them into homerooms and someone takes care of the money. Anderson said he was impressed with how the students had presented their project for acceptance. They requested an appointment, then met with him in a board room and made a formal presentation.

“It was extremely organized and well thought out.”