From shoelaces to penny drives, students find ways to honor victims

ARLINGTON — The shoelaces are yellow. It was his favorite color.

A memorial service is planned this weekend for Oso mudslide victim Jovon “Jojo” Mangual, 13.

His classmates from Post Middle School plan to wear yellow shoelaces to remember him.

More than 650 pairs of yellow shoelaces were donated to the school by the Converse and Nike stores at the Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip, Arlington School District spokeswoman Andrea Conley said.

Post Middle School has just 527 students. The extra laces will go to Kent Prairie Elementary.

Since the March 22 mudslide, young people at schools throughout Snohomish County have found ways to honor the victims, even as many kids in the county took a week off for spring break.

The shoelaces are just one example.

There are hair ribbons and yellow stickers for sports helmets. Certain color shirts have been worn on certain days. There are penny drives and heart-shaped cards and T-shirt sales demonatrating the “Oso Strong” spirit.

At several schools, donations were collected in buckets. Thousands of dollars have come from kids of all ages.

During the sunshine on Wednesday, students at Post Middle School used colored chalk to make geometric mandala designs on the sidewalks. The idea was to “help students and teachers focus on being a community and working together,” Conley said. “The sidewalk is covered with them, and it looks beautiful.”

The students also wrote letters to victims and relief workers. On Monday evening, five Arlington students stood along Highway 530, near Cascade District Court in Arlington, holding signs thanking workers. They plan to do it again Saturday.

At Arlington High School, the art club designed T-shirts to sell as a fundraiser for victims, Principal Brian Beckley said.

The shirts say, “Rescue, Recover, Remember.” The high school students and staff also signed a banner for Darrington City Hall. On March 28, Pioneer Elementary students and staff wore red in solidarity.

Granite Falls High School students collected $1,718 for the Red Cross before spring break, district spokeswoman EB Holderman said.

Monte Cristo Elementary School made a heart-shaped “book” that spans three feet by three feet. Each classroom created a handmade page for the book, which will go up in the school display case.

Everett’s Archbishop Murphy High School also raised more than $5,000 in the first week after the slide. Students also sold baked goods, made a banner, and created a framed photo to send to Darrington High School.

Also in Everett, there have been penny drives at Forest View Elementary, Gateway Middle, Hawthorne Elementary, Lowell Elementary and North Middle, according to the school district.

At Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek, the student government held “miracle minutes,” where everyone had one minute to donate during lunch, ASB adviser Alan Briggs said. The miracle minutes raised nearly $700.

Students at Park Place Middle School in Monroe also made a banner. One of the student’s fathers is a Monroe firefighter who was working in Oso after the slide. The banner was hung in the Oso fire station, district spokeswoman Rosemary O’Neil said. A coin drive there raised more than $1,500. One Maltby Elementary teacher also delivered 14 pies to the slide crews.

At Stanwood High School, students and staff took group photos with a banner reading “Stanwood High School Stands By Darrington High School.”

The banner contained handwritten messages such as “Be strong and don’t give up hope.” In one photo, everyone held up their hands, forming a heart shape with their fingers.

Students at Stanwood High also collected more than $1,400, Assistant Principal Tod Klundt said.

In addition, the more than 80 girls who play for the Snohomish County Express Fastpitch Organization are wearing yellow ribbon stickers on their helmets.

Department Graphics in Everett donated the stickers, which also are being sold at a tournament this weekend to raise money for Oso.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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