DOWNEY - Over a month has passed since the tsunami in Japan, but this devastating event is not forgotten by Downey High students, who collectively raised over $800 for the American Red Cross.Sandra Lee, a senior member of ASB, started her own relief effort called "Cranes for Care" soon after hearing about the damage caused by the tsunami. Although the annual Pennies for Patients campaign had already collected thousands of dollars this year, Lee knew that the student body would be interested in raising money for Japan through this additional fundraiser. "I wanted to take initiative and saw this as another opportunity to help others," said Lee. "I had seen dozens of pictures of the disaster, yet not a lot was being done about it. I'm satisfied to have put effort into relief for Japan." With the help of her family and ASB members, Lee came close to folding a thousand paper cranes to give to students who donated at least one dollar. According to Japanese traditions, one wish is granted to anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes. Red and white ribbons were also available for students to wear in order to symbolize the colors of the Japanese flag. By incorporating the culture of Japan, students quickly caught on and spread awareness of the effort. In Rikuzentakata, Japan, one of the most impacted cities with thousands of deaths, survivors of the tsunami recently celebrated the cherry blossom season despite ongoing calamities. Although much of the traditional celebrations throughout the nation were subdued this year, the remaining inhabitants of Rikuzentakata united to encourage each other through these difficult times. Amid the widespread debris caused by the tsunami, the cherry blossoms provide hope of a new life for the victims. The daunting tasks of salvaging lost possessions and building new homes still remain for the victims in Japan, but the students of Downey High hope to alleviate some of the burdens through their contribution to the relief effort.
********** Published: April 21, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 1