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Teacher’s personal connection to Japan turns into chance for learning experience for class

April 25, 2011

Indian Springs Middle School art students in Mary Hilger’s class turned to the universal language of art to create and send inspirational cards, above and below, to Japan following March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. — Photos contributed

COLUMBIA CITY — When an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March, the students of Mary Hilger at Indian Springs Middle School had a special concern for the people of Japan.
Hilger’s daughter, who lives in Japan because of her husband’s work and works for the Boy Scouts Far East Council, gave Hilger a personal reason to be anxious for the people of Japan, and she communicated that to her students.
Her daughter was all right, but the students wanted to do something for those affected by the devastation. They went to work, doing what they do best.
“The 2 D Art classes have been creating greeting cards and artwork for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan,” said Hilger. “Simultaneously, the students have been learning about the Japanese culture and language.”
Research was done by the students to find the Japanese symbols for the words for faith and believe. But then how were they to get the cards to the victims?
Through her daughter’s connections, Hilger found a group making backpacks for those who are homeless in Japan as a result of the disaster.
“The person in charge of this operation was thrilled to hear our school was providing these notes of encouragement,” Hilger said. “She said they were needing cards and pictures to place in the backpacks.” The letters were recently sent to this group in the mail.
“The students have shown their compassion by creating these cards of hope, peace and love,” said Hilger. “ISMS is blessed to have such caring students.”

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