Project draws on patriotism

Pupils decorate cars with flags to help kids of terror victims


October 10, 2001|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

Despite chilly weather, 29 fifth-graders were outside Mechanicsville Elementary School yesterday morning, whooping with joy when their parents pulled into the main driveway.

The parents had driven to the school on Route 32 in Gamber to get American flags drawn on the windows of their cars, sport utility vehicles, minivans and trucks - and to donate to a scholarship fund for children who lost a parent in the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.

In groups of five, the pupils eagerly approached waiting vehicles - some so high off the ground that the children had to strain on tiptoe to reach the windows. Using red, white and blue markers that won't wash off with water, they took turns drawing the flags on rear windows. Some vehicles drove away with three flags.

"The tragedy hit home with everybody," said Assistant Principal Robin Townsend. "These kids have never really experienced that patriotic feeling and this really brought it home. We felt we needed to make that connection with our kids to the scholarship fund."

Art teacher Brigitte Delzingaro's first-period class will take part in the project every morning this week. Pupils took fliers home about the effort.

Townsend said the Connection in Baltimore, an auto supply company, donated 120 markers for the project. Glass cleaner will remove the ink.

A minimum $1 donation for each flag drawing is requested. However, halfway through yesterday's hourlong class, the spouse of a school staff member handed one group a $50 bill for putting a single flag on his truck.

In the first two days, the fund-raiser collected $276.75, Townsend said.

Though Delzingaro's class does not meet today, a few art pupils will be on hand to draw flags in front of the school between 8:50 a.m. and 9:50 a.m.

The whole class will be ready with markers tomorrow and Friday.

While waiting for vehicles to arrive, the pupils talked about the attack and said the project made them feel good about helping others.

The parents were just as enthusiastic over the project.

"It's good that the kids are involved in doing this," said Linda Brandt, whose daughter Julie was busy outfitting someone else's car window. "I plan to leave the flag on probably through the winter, or until I have to wash the car."

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