A LESSON IN COMPASSION

October 01, 2001 11:00 pm
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Daryan Turner, right, and Karrah Mattson, students in Missy Rinkers third-grade class at Greenwood Elementary School, work on cards that will be sent to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Students in Rinkers class also conducted a penny drive for the attack victims. (The Observer/DICK MASON).
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Daryan Turner, right, and Karrah Mattson, students in Missy Rinkers third-grade class at Greenwood Elementary School, work on cards that will be sent to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Students in Rinkers class also conducted a penny drive for the attack victims. (The Observer/DICK MASON).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Twenty-one La Grande students have collected enough pennies to fill a wishing well.

The children, however, are not making wishes for themselves.

The students, members of Missy Rinkers third-grade class at Greenwood School, have collected $135 in coins for victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. The money is part of more than $400 raised through a school-wide penny drive led by Rinkers class.

Individual classes competed to see which could raise the most money. Rinkers class won the contest with its $135. About 98 percent of the coins collected were pennies.

It was a penny war, Rinker said.

The money collected also included a Mexican peso, several Canadian coins and a Sacajawea dollar.

The coins were counted by Rinkers students. Then a check for $424.32 was presented to Mike Howton of Bank of America. The money will go to the Northwest Response Fund, which is being used to help the attack victims

Children in Rinkers class also produced paper prints of American flags. Each sheet contains a flag colored by the students and the words: Proud to be an American because ... . Students filled in the blank.

The children wrote that they were proud to be Americans because: we can vote, we are the the bravest, we can choose our church, there is no slavery, and we choose our leaders.

The flags are displayed in the window of Bryans Downtown Auto Parts, 1423 Adams Ave.

Rinkers students have also made cards for children who lost their parents in the terrorist attacks and those who are in hospitals recovering from the events.

Some of the cards have drawings of things such as firefighters helping people escape from burning buildings.

Rinker has been heartened by the positive approach her students have taken to the card-making project.

They have described what true heroes are, Rinker said. This has allowed them to look at the positive side of a tragedy.

The students in Rinkers class are: Rebecca Butler, Thelma Easley, Conner Fry, Brandon Gilbert, Joey Hafer, Justin Hancock, Shane Iturbide, Jacob Kahut, Marlee Kennon, Karrah Mattson, Carson Miller, Taylor Mutch, Riley Neer, Russell Olmsted, Kyle Sandoval, Treyce Schireman, Jessica Stone, Tevin Trice, Daryan Turner, Sabrina Werner and Connor White.