Hearts for the hurting

FDMS students send cards of kindness to Florida high school after mass shooting

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Maggie Pina-Hernandez, 11, a fifth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, holds up her heart-shaped card at the school Thursday morning.

Special education students in Cindy Griggs’ class at Fort Dodge Middle School did their part on Thursday to help send cards of kindness to students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Seventeen people were killed there in one of the deadliest school shootings in history on Feb. 14.

The fifth- and-sixth-grade students spent part of their morning creating heart-shaped cards with happy messages on them.

Maggie Pina-Hernandez, 11, a fifth-grader, said her hope is, “They would feel good when they get our hearts.”

“That’s really what we’re giving them, isn’t it?” Griggs said. “Our hearts.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Dalton Coppinger, 11, a sixth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, shows off his card of kindness at the school Thursday afternoon.

Kim Bodholdt, FDMS director of school climate transformation, said she was inspired to have students make the cards after seeing a post on social media.

According to Bodholdt, a teacher at the Florida high school was asking online that schools everywhere send cards of hope and happiness.

That post read:

It is with a heavy heart and clouded eyes I am reaching out to this community of wonderful teachers to help my students heal from the horrific event they have experienced. Our kids are amazing and they want to get back to school and continue learning but first they need time to just be together and begin the process of healing. I would like to greet them all on the first day back with letters of support. Not the email kind or the texting kind but real letters handwritten and signed by kids from our amazing community. I want them to hold the envelopes addressed from around the world to see that they are not alone and there is still kind and caring people in this world. If you would like to participate please send the letters to:

Ms. Wolk-Rogers

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson A collection of cards created by students at Fort Dodge Middle School are displayed here. The cards are being mailed to Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a recent school shooting took place.

Stoneman Douglas High School

5901 Pine Island Road

Parkland, Florida 33076

“This teacher wanted cards from all over the world to greet her kids when they came back,” Bodholdt said.

Bodholdt said having the students create the cards falls in line with a theme at the school.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Angel Gervacio, 10, a fifth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, holds up his card of kindness at the school Thursday.

“This month our school is focusing on kindness and happiness,” she said. “We are having people who see kind acts, write that act on a heart and tape them on the foyer in the school.”

When Bodholdt shared the idea of sending the cards, Griggs was one of the first teachers to run with the idea, she said.

The students were enthusiastic too.

“Students really came up with their own ideas on what they wanted to put on the cards,” Bodholdt said.

Ivan Rubio, 12, and Sydney Long, 12, both sixth-graders, wrote, “I think you are special” on their cards.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Ivan Rubio, 12, a sixth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, applies a little color to his card of kindness Thursday morning at the school.

Griggs continued to encourage students.

“The more colorful the better,” she said.

Griggs asked how students in Florida might feel when they receive the cards.

“More happy and excited to go back to school,” Dalton Coppinger, 11, a sixth-grader, said.

“And we love them,” Angel Gervacio, 10, a fifth-grader, added.

Bodholdt assured students that their work would be delivered.

“I’m going to get these mailed today,” she said.