PORTLAND -- A Portland teacher came up with a simple solution aimed at helping her students deal with the devastating images out of Oklahoma.
Her class put pencil to paper and produced 29 letters addressed to students at one of the schools destroyed by a tornado on Monday.
“Dear Plaza Towers Elementary, we are so sorry the tornado came to your school,” read fourth-grader Samantha Gonzalez-Velequez.
“They see so much on the news and there’s not always a place to talk about what they’re seeing,” said teacher Jamie Maynard.
“I saw so many pieces of buildings. It looked really sad,” commented student Addie Ticknor.
Their single-paragraph letters are meant for a school community of about 400 which is the same size as their school – Chief Joseph Elementary in North Portland.
“We just passed by it on the way from Tennessee,” remembered student Edgar Gayheart.
His family drove through Oklahoma on a road trip last summer.
“It was so windy that my Dad said a tornado was coming and the windshield wipers wouldn’t even stay on the windows,” he said.
Edgar drew a large yellow smiley face to go with his letter.
Other letters carry student drawn images of blue skies, sunshine and new buildings.
“We hope you think happy thoughts of cupcakes and cookies,” Addie read from her letter.
“We are thinking of you guy and gals,” added Samantha.
“We can’t always do something by going to the place where the bad things happen but I want the kids to know they can do something from here in Oregon,” said their teacher.
Student Sharista Anand wrapped up the letter reading with the words, “ Sincerely Chief Joseph Elementary . . . P.S. Oregon loves Oklahoma.”