Students organize Beanie Babies Drive for Sandy Hook Elementary

Junior+Emily+Zhang+writes+a+letter+of+support+to+students+at+Sandy+Hook+Elementary+on+Dec.+19.+The+card+making+station+is+located+in+room+B101.+Photo+by+Joyce+Varma.
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Students organize Beanie Babies Drive for Sandy Hook Elementary

Junior Emily Zhang writes a letter of support to students at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 19. The card making station is located in room B101. Photo by Joyce Varma.

Junior Emily Zhang writes a letter of support to students at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 19. The card making station is located in room B101. Photo by Joyce Varma.

Junior Emily Zhang writes a letter of support to students at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 19. The card making station is located in room B101. Photo by Joyce Varma.

Junior Emily Zhang writes a letter of support to students at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 19. The card making station is located in room B101. Photo by Joyce Varma.

Joyce Varma


In response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., juniors Michelle Swedek and Cathryn Yang organized a Beanie Babies Drive. Swedek and Yang coordinated with AP Biology teacher Pamela Chow, Assistant Principal Brad Metheany and Principal April Scott to send Beanie Babies to the students of Sandy Hook. The Drive took place from Dec. 17 to Dec. 20.

“Me and my mom, we were really upset and my mom was like, ‘Why don’t we send something like a teddy bear or something like that to these kids, so they can smile a little bit?’” Swedek said. “I brought this idea to my friends and then to Mr. Metheany and Ms. Scott, and Mr. Metheany suggested this Beanie Baby idea.”

The late physical education and history teacher and Aquatics coach Ron Freeman collected Beanie Babies, and when he passed away in January 2011, his family donated the collection to MVHS. Until now, administration had kept the 385 Beanie Babies, all new with tags, in storage.

“We figured that this would be what [Freeman] wanted,” Swedek said.

Emily Zhang writes a card for the Beanie Babies Drive

Junior Emily Zhang writes a letter of support to students at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 19. The card making station was located in room B101. Photo by Joyce Varma.

Swedek and Yang aimed to send a Beanie Baby to each of the 450 students at Sandy Hook over winter break. They invited students and staff members to fill out a card to attach to each toy for a student at Sandy Hook.To fill out a card, students and staff came to room B101 or contacted Swedek, Yang or Chow during brunch or after school last week. Swedek and Yang also asked for $1 donations to cover the cost of shipping to Connecticut and for funds to purchase more Beanie Babies.

“I saw the message that was posted on School Loop about the drive, and I thought it was a good idea because kids who survived a traumatic experience could use a stuffed animal,” junior Priyanka Bapat said.

Swedek and Yang raised $214 and received 260 cards, so they will be sending some of the 450 Beanie Babies without cards. The students of Sandy Hook Elementary are scheduled to receive their Beanie Babies the day they come back to school after break on Jan. 2.

“We want the kids to know that there are good people, and that there are people thinking of them and praying for them,” Swedek said.