Buena Vista: 1,000 origami cranes offer good wish for Japan

       As sad news continues to come in from Japan, Buena Vista Elementary third-grader Miles Murphy and some classmates are doing their best to help.

Buena Vista third-grader Miles Murphy (standing, right) works on origami cranes at a table by the school's main entrance after school with fellow students (from left) Zaid and Sophia Momani, Seneca Sakai and Gavin Downs. Seneca's mother, Riho Sakai, is standing next to him. Some already-made 25-crane strings hang at upper right.
Westside Pioneer photo

       They recently began constructing origami cranes and selling them for the stricken country's earthquake and tsunami victims.
       “We're trying to raise money. I decided I could help by making cranes,” Miles explained this week at the school.
       The idea came out of the Japanese legends that cranes can live 1,000 years and that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish.
       The BV students meet after school most days, at a table by the main door, selling their pieces for $1 each and in between making new ones, applying the necessary, strategic 18 folds to pre-cut pieces of paper to make them look like tiny cranes. They've already earned more than $400, according to Miles' mom Sunny, with the goal of raising $1,000 in all.
       “Miles came up with the idea after hearing a friend and I discuss the situation in Japan and the 1,000 cranes of mourning,” Sunny said. He then researched the idea on the Internet and gave a presentation to the class, she added.
       Help in the effort has come from Riho Sakai and her son Seneca, one of Miles' classmates. Having moved to the U.S. in 1996, she is a member of the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado (JASSC) and has provided insights about Japanese culture to the students. In a write-up for the class, she noted that making 1,000 paper cranes has evolved into a “symbolic act for making wishes and is meant to show the maker's care and concern for a person who has suffered a hardship.”
       The boys have also taught their classmates how to make cranes, and Marissa Tiroly, their lower elementary (grades 1-3) teacher, lets the students work on them during their “free choice time” (after they've finished their regular school work).
       People who want to help out can buy individual cranes from the BV students or they can sponsor the effort in any dollar amounts they choose.
       Some of the cranes are being combined in strings of 25 each (also in the Japanese tradition) to sell at the JASSC's Japan Disaster Relief Fundraiser May 7 at Colorado College.

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