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Artful wishes on wind

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February 06, 2013 - Art combined with humanity makes for a powerful lesson.

Roughly 75 fourth grade students at Oakwood Elementary took their art projects out into cold February air on Tuesday. Each had a flag made of muslin fabric, on which they had drawn various images, each accompanied with a short message, meant as well wishes for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The storm that ravaged the East Coast in late October killed more than 100 Americans and caused more than $70 billion in damage.

"Our students are ready to let their banners and wishes blow in the wind to those on the East Coast still working to put their lives back in order," said Oakwood Principal Kristy Spann.

Under the instruction of art teacher Mary Larsen, the youngsters had used fabric markers to draw items that matched their wishes—such as a turtle symbolizing a student's wish that storm victims would find a new home, jaguars and lions symbolizing strength, peace signs, butterflies as a wish for love, a dragon with flames as a wish that victims would find warmth, and families with hearts in the wish that victims will be united with their loved ones.

The "wishing banners" are modeled after Tibetan prayer flags and the students embarked on the project in November.

"In the art room, we appreciate the way other cultures express themselves and looked at how the monks in Tibet make prayer flags to express peace and love to others," explained Larsen. "They began this project around Thanksgiving when we were thinking of others… It's a heartfelt wish."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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