On Thursday morning, York Suburban Middle School students were covered in snow -- paper snowflakes, each handcrafted by students as part of a school-wide effort to show support for those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

"As each snowflake is unique, so is each student," commented coordinator Bethann Pratte, who initiated the effort after talking with a friend who is a resident of Sandy Hook and has a son in their elementary school.

According to Pratte, York Suburban students also included short, positive messages written on the flakes, which will be taken up to Sandy Hook Elementary. The school will hang them, transforming the school into a winter wonderland for students when they arrive back after their holiday break.

York Suburban faculty will create their own flakes, which will be hung in the faculty room of Sandy Hook Elementary.

In Pratte's sixth-grade classroom, students were excitedly clipping white paper into intricate shapes.

"Look at mine! Look at how I cut out the middle," said one student, holding up her handiwork for her nearby classmates to inspect.

"I think it's nice to do after the tragedy. We all need positive things," said Grace Forster, 11, who added that she wrote on her snowflake, "Think wonderful thoughts."

Other popular messages included "It's a new day!" and "The sun is shining." Pratte's sixth-graders agreed that making the snowflakes was both fun and a nice way to give back.

Seventh-grade math teacher and student council adviser Peggy Zirkle also agreed.

 York Suburban Middle School sixth-grader Adrianna Pinto, left, talking classmate Allyssa Klin, wore a shirt with the names of the victims of the Sandy
York Suburban Middle School sixth-grader Adrianna Pinto, left, talking classmate Allyssa Klin, wore a shirt with the names of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings Thursday. She joined others at school creating snowflakes to send to the Newtown, Conn., town to help with the healing process. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN)

"This effort was really spearheaded by the students. We have a wonderful, caring student body," she said, noting that the snowflakes helped show the students the importance of coming together after a tragedy.

Want to help?

Want to lend a helping hand? Create and send a snowflake to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514, by January 12, 2013.

Also of interest

Read more about the shooting at Sandy Hook by visiting ydr.com/connshooting.


 York Suburban Middle School eighth-grader Lilian Ryder sports a shirt to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. Students at the
York Suburban Middle School eighth-grader Lilian Ryder sports a shirt to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. Students at the school decorated snowflakes to send to Newtown, Conn. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN)