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Clear Lake reaches out to Japan one paper crane at a time



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Clear Lake fifth-graders Megan Bellairs (left) and Kaylie Seeling watch as volunteer Mari Harada Knorp teaches them origami. (click for larger version)
April 06, 2011 - When tragedy strikes, it doesn't matter if it's down the street or around the globe, Oxford's students are always willing to lend a hand to those in need.

Last week, students at Clear Lake Elementary reached out to Japan by holding a fund-raiser and making origami cranes to help with the relief and rebuilding efforts following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated parts of the Asian nation March 11.

In honor of Japan, Clear Lakers wore something red to school March 30 and brought in donations as part of a fund-raiser for the Red Cross initiated by the school's student council, according to fifth-grader Sergio Borg.

The student body raised $723, which will be matched dollar for dollar by Toshiba America Medical Systems. Third-grader Emily McClear's father, Jim, works for the company.

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In addition to donations, the students also spent some time learning how to make origami cranes, a skill taught to them by school volunteer Mari Harada Knorp, an Oxford resident and native of Japan.

Knorp discovered through the website www.studentsrebuild.org/japan that the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $200,000 to Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan in exchange for receiving 100,000 paper cranes.

To help achieve that goal, Clear Lake students are busy making 1,000 cranes, which amounts to a $2,000 donation.

Cranes are sacred creatures in Japanese culture. Legend says anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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