More than six months after the tragic attacks on El Paso, students throughout the country continue to shower EPISD schools with positive messages, support and even chocolate bars.
Tom Lea Elementary — which gained local and national recognition following the August 3 shootings after fourth-grade teacher Teresa Garrett asked the country on Facebook to send her students notes of support, garnering thousands upon thousands of mailed-in letters — is once again at the center of this love fest.
Missy Pint, a Kansas City high-school teacher, arranged for every Tom Lea Elementary student to receive a “sweet note” just in time for Valentine’s Day. Pint flew to El Paso last week to help deliver the sweet valentines to the nearly 900 students at the Northeast school.
“I felt appreciated … like I have friends from somewhere else even though they’re not with me here,” said Tom Lea fourth-grader Caiden Slider.
Pint, who created the Sweet Note Project several years ago to make sure no one felt left out on Valentine’s Day at retirement homes and homeless shelters, expanded her program to include students who have been victimized by mass shootings, including the one in Parkland, Fla.
Here in El Paso, the students at Tom Lea were treated with fun, positive Valentine’s Day cards with handwritten messages like I love you to the moon and back, Without you the world won’t be complete, and You are a treasure to the world.
Fourth-grader Gabriella Samaniego said she appreciated the note and the candy.
“I felt loved and that I have friends who support me in everything that I do,” she said.
Garrett hopes that students learn from Pint’s act of kindness to pay it forward.