By Connie Berry
Sister Bernadette Kupris, OSF, and her sixth graders at St. Mary’s Academy in Baldwinsville read the book, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and made the story come to life. The story is about a Japanese girl who believed the legend that says that anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. Sadako grew ill after the bombing at Hiroshima and she completed only 644 cranes before her death. Today, there is a statue in memory of Sadako in a park in Hiroshima. The St. Mary’s students decided they would make 1,000 cranes and share them with Golisano Childrens’ Hospital and with students at St. Charles Borromeo School, which will close at the end of this school year. The cranes represent hope. While the students were folding their cranes, the earthquake occurred in Japan so the students also plan to send a portion of the paper cranes to a school in Japan. Kelly McCann, the librarian at St. Mary’s, came with the children to St. Charles School on April 12. She helped present each student and staff member at St. Charles with a paper crane. McCann attended St. Charles when she was growing up and said, “I don’t know how to tell you just how special this school is. You all inspire me and we hope we brought you some peace today.”
The students were quiet as each name was read aloud and each student was presented with a crane and a short inspirational quote the St. Mary’s students gave them. The sixth graders who completed the project took only 50 days to fold all 1,000 cranes. Sixth grader Sloane Nicoletti-Watson said, “We thought we would bring them some peace.”
Kathy Jacuk teaches pre-k, is a morning playground helper and works during lunch and with the day care class at St. Charles. She was obviously moved by the gesture. “It’s hard to say good-bye after 30 years,” Jacuk said.
St. Charles Principal Deacon Joseph Celentano told the children that he was reminded of St. Paul while he watched the presentation. “This is what church is,” he told them. “When one of us hurts, the whole body of the church feels the pain.”