Facebook Twitter

Message of love

Holt Elementary students make valentines to cheer up patients in hospitals

CLEARFIELD — Holt Elementary students in Davis School District are using paper, markers and a lot of glue to ensure that hospital patients get a bit of love on Valentine's Day.

For the past six years, students in all grades at the school dedicate the week prior to the day of love to crafting thousands of valentines for hospital patients along the Wasatch Front.

Katie Higgins, student council adviser at the school, said the project started out as a small church-group activity, but after a phenomenal response, she brought it into her school as a way for the students to reach out to those who are sick.

"We want (patients) to know that 'You are not forgotten. Even though you are in here on this wonderful day of love, we are thinking about you,"' Higgins said.

Each year Higgins gets a head count of how many hospital patients will be served breakfast on Valentine's Day. Then after receiving the cards from the school, hospital staff deliver the valentines on the patient's breakfast tray that morning.

The cards have a poem from the school inside, and students also leave their own personal wishes in the cards — something that has been a big hit with patients.

"We have received responses and thank-you cards from them saying how happy they were to get the valentines," Higgins said.

School faculty allow the project to be student-driven and primarily run by the school's student body officers. Most students in the school create at least two cards. But sixth-grader Aubree Matheson, student body president, spent seven hours one night last week making more than 40 cards.

"You just know they are going to someone good and they will appreciate it a lot," Matheson said.

Higgins said a big part of student council activities is service learning — thinking of others before themselves.

"Projects like these teach kids how to organize and motivate other students to help," said Cindy Szymanski, assistant student council adviser. "Plus they know these are going to cheer people up, and they had a hand in doing that."

This year the school's students made more than 2,000 valentines, and last week parent volunteers helped the student council deliver the cards to places like McKay-Dee Hospital, Shriners Hospital, Primary Children's Medical Center, Ogden Regional Medical Center and a number of assisted living facilities.

"I think this is a good project because we are telling them that we want them to get better and it will help with their mental healing," said sixth-grader Dusten Barnhart, student council treasurer.

E-mail: terickson@desnews.com