FACTORYVILLE, Pa. — Thousands of colorful paper chains hang in the Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center hallway in Factoryville. Sixth grade students in Mrs. Cresswell's class took on the task of constructing and hanging them.
"All this took about, I want to say, about four days, so it was a lot. I know a couple of people, they took some paper home, and they made links at their house and then brought them back and connected it," said sixth grader Elizabeth Harvey.
The paper chains are more than just decorations. The students read a book called "Linked," about a group of students who learned about the Holocaust and the six million Jewish people who were killed because of their beliefs. In the book, the students d build paper chains to represent those who died, one link per person. The students at Lackawanna Trail decided to do something similar.
"Students wanted to do something to represent the numbers that they were reading in the story. They came up with that idea. They took the lead on that," said Lackawanna Trail Elementary Principal Brian Kearney.
"We did 6,000, and we see how many it is right now, but imagine how much six million is," said sixth grader Kacie Higgins.
Seeing the paper chains got students talking and asking questions, and now other students are also reading the book.
"Why did it happen? And essentially, how do we become better people? That's our job as a school is to continually educate students about the past and prepare them for the future," Kearney said.
"I feel really bad for those people that died in the Holocaust, and knowing that we are able to represent it at least a little bit, it feels really good," added sixth grader Madeline Beckwith.
Teachers hope that as the students grow, they learn the bigger meaning of this project — tolerance, acceptance, equality, and kindness.
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