The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., hit a little closer to home for students at Centreville High School.
A guidance counselor at the school, Peter Dittmar, attended Sandy Hook as a child. A few days after the shooting, he spoke to the Student Government Association class about how the event affected him.
“When something touches home base, it has more of a meaning,” said Brooke Peterson, a senior at Centreville and a member of the SGA Board.
As a show of support for Dittmar and the Sandy Hook students and faculty, SGA students decided to make paper snowflakes to help decorate the halls of the new Sandy Hook school building — one for each of the approximately 2,500 members of the Centreville High community.
“There’s only so much we can do from here,” said Centreville junior Kylie Cuomo. “It’s a small thing that we can contribute.”
However, they only had about 24 hours before Dittmar was returning home to Connecticut for the holidays so they enlisted the help of students at Oakton High School as well.
The final snowflake count between the two schools was just under 4,000.
Centreville students used social media to engage their classmates and get them to drop by the SGA classroom to contribute a snowflake.
“I think it was an outlet for them, too, because I don’t think they knew how to handle it,” said Centreville SGA teacher Demby Banbury.
Springing into action to help others is a normal part of the SGA class at Centreville, where students spend their class time learning leadership skills through organizing school events and doing community service projects.
So far this school year, the Centreville SGA students have also coordinated Christmas gift programs, held a race that doubled as a food drive and collected supplies for a local homeless shelter, among other activities.