Message of Hope: North Students Sending Letters to Sandy Hook Elementary School
The Ordinary Heroes movement was started in the summer by two Waukesha North High School graduates. The message of hope and love has spread locally and nationally.
Haley Lehr hasn’t stopped thinking about the Sandy Hook Elementary School children since she first heard about the horrific shooting on Friday.
Haley, a junior at Waukesha North High School, spent part of her morning in her academic options class Monday writing letters to those affected by the massacre. She was one of many at the school who were sending messages to the parents, children and loved ones at the school.
“It is hard to comprehend the impact that it has had on everyone there,” Haley said. “I just wanted to do something – anything to help.”
Haley heard about the Connecticut shooting from another student at school on Friday. Several students were looking up articles on their smartphones to find more information about it.
Haley has been thinking about everyone in Newtown, knowing that “everyone there was impacted by it,” she said.
“I think it offers some comfort to know that people are behind you and support you and are praying for you,” Haley said.
The letter writing campaign was started by two Waukesha North High School graduates, Kelsie Wendelberger and Zach Dunton. The two started an Ordinary Heroes movement in downtown Waukesha after the Aurora, CO, shooting as a small fundraiser to give back to the victims of the movie theater shooting. Soon after, their efforts turned locally when the Sikh temple was targeted by a gunman in Oak Creek, leaving six people dead.
After hearing about Newton shootings, they pushed for a letter-writing campaign to share messages of support and love with the Connecticut school. They estimate about 4,000 people are sending letters from across the country.
“It is across the nation,” Zach said.
“We have business people saying they are putting things together and they are sending whole boxes of letters from businesses. We will have schools doing it,” Kelsie said.
Waukesha North student Adam Kouhel estimated the high school will send more than 1,000 letters.
“It feels amazing that so many people are being so supportive,” Kelsie said. “It is about everybody else doing it and taking the initiative to do this is really powerful in bringing hope across the nation.”
Jenna Schiewer, a junior, said it’s still hard to process what happened on Friday.
“The thought never runs through your head that someone could hurt children like that,” Jenna said.
Jenna was writing letters just to show she supports those families who are grieving.
“When something like this happens, the most important thing is to surround yourself with people who care,” she said. “We will never be able to understand what they feel, but we can give them insight that we care for them.”