ETCETERA - Cranes of hope take flight from Berney students' fingertips

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Berney Elementary School students of all ages embraced the Japanese saying that a wish will be granted to one who creates a thousand paper cranes, said Berney secretary Lisa Davis.

Wishes aside, their gesture is an altruistic one. The students, individually and in groups, folded in excess of 1,000 rainbow-hued paper origami cranes, intent on sending them to students in Japan.

The idea was hatched by Mary Ann Duffy, mother of fifth-grader Finn Duffy.

On March 30, Mary Ann called Berney Principal Donna Painter to propose doing an all-school project to help students keep the Japanese people in their thoughts after they suffered a devastating earthquake on March 11 and the resulting tsunamis and nuclear disaster.

"Her goal is to have the students make 1,000 paper cranes with hopes of displaying them in our hallways and foyer. Some will be hung from the ceilings, others displayed on the walls," Donna told Berney personnel via email.

Mary Ann supplied the special paper, taught the students how to make the cranes, strung them together in lengths of 20 each and suspended them from light fixtures in the lobby.

As the students learned how to coax the distinctively shaped birds out of paper, they in turn could help Mary Ann teach other students how to make them.

Students folded cranes at home and sat at a table in the lobby at recess and before and after school, Lisa said. "They kept coming in with more to donate. It really is a sight to behold."

They produced more birds on spring break, Lisa said. One fifth grader held a folding party with friends and brought in 100 cranes; one folded 50 herself; and another produced a large version of the iconic bird out of newsprint.

They found out the OshKosh B'gosh company is sponsoring a Cranes for Kids campaign to "make a crane and clothe a child" and give hope to children in Japan. OshKosh B'gosh will send the cranes to the Japanese children and will donate up to 50,000 articles of clothing.

Berney's cranes were displayed prior to sending them off to the company in Shelton, Conn., before the April 25 deadline, Lisa said.

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The tooth fairy arrived in style for a recent visit with Milton-Freewater school children.

Its mode of transportation, dubbed the Tooth Taxi, is a snazzed-up RV. It's the second time the Tooth Taxi has been in Milton-Freewater since 2009.

The state-of-the-art dental office on wheels features a full-time dentist and staff, two operatory units and a waiting room.

It parked at Freewater Elementary School and screened and treated students from there as well as Ferndale and Grove Elementary students.

Children were heard remarking, "I didn't brush my teeth, I got my dirty teeth;" "I didn't see Justin Bieber, I just watched Sponge Bob;" "I have a broken tooth, I eat too much candy and I drink too much pop;" "We got baby chicks and at night my Mom helps me brush my teeth;" and "I haven't went to a dentist for four or five years, you know why? 'Cause my Mom didn't have any money." A kindergartner said, "I brush my teeth all the morning." A fourth-grader waiting in the screening line said, "Do I go out to the big machine (Tooth Taxi)?"

And a fifth- grader at the screening said to Dr. McLeod, "If you brush my teeth it's gonna feel like a maid brushing our teeth."

Mary A. Daly, Tooth Taxi program manager with Dental Foundation of Oregon, added in a release that 76 percent of the students screened needed treatment; and the other 24 percent did not require treatment. The Tooth Taxi drove 301 miles.

From April 11-14 at Freewater Elementary, 119 students were screened; 146 students received oral hygiene education in the classroom; and 13 students were treated in the van for a $13,793 value of free dental services provided.

Between Sept. 4, 2008-April 14 this year, Tooth Taxi screened 9,346 students; 6,153 students received oral hygiene education in the classroom; and 3,580 students treated in the van for a $2,309,478 value of free dental services provided.

Keith Canwell, manager of the Medical Teams International mobile dental van from Walla Walla, stopped by to see the Tooth Taxi operation in action.

Tooth Taxi can be "liked" on Facebook these days because of virtual volunteer Jonathan Hendryx, who helped create the Tooth Taxi Facebook card that was handed out at the Oregon Dental Conference. Online, see www.facebook.com/DentalFoundationOfOregon.

Mary added that, "In addition to the gratifying reward of helping students, we received a lovely gift basket from students and school counselor Ms. (Kris Ann) Reed."

•••

Enterprising Freewater Elementary students kicked their efforts into high gear and sold $17,000-plus in candy to help the school purchase extras it would not otherwise be able to afford.

Students enjoyed an exciting BMX show, too, according to a release from Milton-Freewater Unified School District 7.

The school will receive half of the dollar amount they sold, which will go toward supplies, equipment and activities.

Their efforts set a school record, vastly surpassing a goal of $12,000. Jim Reger, principal, didn't think that was possible. "In these tough economic times, I am amazed and touched that the community would still support our kids at that level," he said.

Twelve students sold more than 40 boxes of candy each, and received a T-shirt and front-row seats at the BMX show. Any student who sold at least one item was allowed to watch the BMX show, performed in front of the school, the release said.

•••

Saturday's Hooks, Health and Hoards of Treasure event at the College Place Lions Park seemed like the first real day of spring for several hundred Scouters, anglers, bargain hunters and citizens.

According to College Place Lions Club President Crystal Walk, "More than a hundred young anglers cast their hooks, lures and worms into the pond. We had 55 reported catches. Some of the fish were big and beautiful. The College Place Wal-Mart, Army recruiters and the Lions club provided prizes for the lucky and the not so lucky anglers."

Forty-two citizens took advantage of the NW Foundation Lions Sight and Hearing Health Screening van that was staffed by volunteers from Walla Walla Community College's nursing department. Citizens were given free quick screenings for vision, hearing, blood pressure, glaucoma and diabetes. Rhonda Wilder a Lion and a WWCC Nursing Student said, "We were able to identify one person who we will be assist more later." The Lions Club's main mission is to work within the community to improve sight and hearing.

The Community Garage Sale attracted eleven tables for community groups and individuals who offered furniture, books, clothes, decorations and kitchen items for sale. They benefited from the overflow of people from the Fishing Derby and Health Screening Van.

•••

Balloon Stampede School Launches

Friday, May 13- 6:30 a.m.

  • Pioneer Middle School
  • Garrison Middle School
  • Prospect Point Elementary
  • Lincoln High School
  • Blue Ridge Elementary
  • Sharpstein Elementary
  • Edison Elementary
  • Walla Walla High School
  • Berney Elementary
Annie Charnley Eveland is out of the office through May 23. Items that can wait to run after she returns may be emailed to her at annieeveland@wwub.com and will appear in Etcetera. In the mean time, items of a timely nature may be emailed to Alasdair Stewart for consideration at alasdairstewart@wwub.com or call 526-8311.

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