As Newtown and the nation mourn the loss and the issue of tighter gun control regulations has risen to the forefront of discourse, the students at Jefferson wanted to send a message of love to those affected by the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary.
As I entered Jefferson Academy on the early morning of December 19 for a meeting, I was greeted by friendly security staff who provided both tight access control while making me feel welcome.
Principal Gordon was standing by greeting students as they entered the building. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, yet Newtown was not far from everyone’s mind.
Throughout that week, Jefferson students had been collecting stuffed animals to send to Connecticut to help put a smile on the faces of those affected by the tragedy.
Student Isiah Lattimore said they wanted to show that we care about what’s happening, while student Ajani Young said that he wanted to bring them some comfort.
Many students on this day had worn the Sandy Hook colors (white and green) and 7th grader Armani Scott had worn a tee shirt with the names of the victims.
Many boxes of stuffed animals had been collected and all will find good homes in Newtown.
As we grieve for the victims and their families and as we debate gun control, the students at Jefferson simply worked hard to help bring some joy during such a difficult time, which had fallen in the middle of the holiday season and should have been filled with laughter, joy and celebration.
By Bruce DarConte, Education Chair for the Community Benefits Coordinating Council (CBCC) and Treasurer-Elect for the First District Citizens Advisory Council, Metropolitan Police (1DCAC)