SE students construct large blanket for unity

By Nicole Walby

Staff Writer

ATTICA – The district of Seneca East Local Schools has been through several ups and downs this past year. Now, the students and staff have come up with a way to deal with the tragedies.

More than 1,000 people, including students, staff, teachers, board members and administrators have come together to create the “Handy Blanket.” The banner is constructed of hands made of tissue paper and contact paper that stretches more than 60 feet.

“The banner means a sense of unity and support,” said Heather Schalk, guidance counselor for elementary and junior high. “It is a reminder that we all touch each other’s lives.”

The banner took about three to four months to make, said art teacher Susan Nugent.

Nugent and Schalk initiated the project. They said they have made several other banners in the past, but wanted a symbol of encouragement and support for the entire district.

The banner was hung in the entryway of the school and will be there again come the next school year.

The last couple of years have been hard on the district, Nugent said. During the 2012-13 school year a fifth grader was diagnosed with cancer, a 2012 graduate was killed in an accident, a house fire killed three Seneca East students and their parents and, most recently, two students were killed in a car accident.

“The banner has brought everyone closer,” Schalk said. “Especially the sixth-graders. They have grown and changed.”

“The Handy Banner reminds us that no matter the tragedy, we are united and will stand by the family and friends of those involved,” Nugent said.