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Highland Park students light up some hearts

Wednesday, December 12, 20121306 views

Local students used lanterns to light the market streets of This is the Place Heritage Park, Nov. 29. Highland Park Elementary fourth graders joined with schools from across the Salt Lake valley in singing German songs and putting on a parade of lanterns to celebrate St. Martin. The event was part of a service project to get students to gather warm coats or donations for needy children.

St. Martin is celebrated for his kindness and compassion, as he cut his cloak in half to help a beggar in need. Later he hid from the townspeople when chosen to be the Bishop of Tours; the townspeople lit lanterns and called out to find St. Martin.

“Every school worked on their own lanterns for the students involved,” said Jen Purdy, Highland Park music teacher. “We bought translucent bags and allowed students to decorate them.”

Leading up to the Lantern Parade, Highland Park participated in a coat drive held in conjunction with This is the Place Heritage Park and the Salt Lake Education Foundation, to collect money or new coats to be given to children and teenagers in need. The school did not have a final number of coats gathered or the amount of money raised at press time.

“We wanted students to make a connection between St. Martin and the attitude of giving,” said Purdy. “This coat drive and story of St. Martin was great for our students to see a different culture, and make connections from around the world.”

Flyers were sent home with students to notify parents of the coat drive, encouraging them to donate items or money through the school or online. They were also invited to enjoy an evening at Christkindlmarkt in This is the Place Heritage Park, an old-world style festival that offers food, vendors and entertainment, Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.

“This is the first year Heritage Park has organized this event, and a lot of thought was put into it,” Purdy said. “It was an amazing way to bring a community together in giving and music. We all came together at the end of the parade and sang ‘O Christmas Tree’ as they turned on the lights of a Christmas tree.”

Other schools who participated in the Lantern Parade and coat drive included Dilworth, Edison, Rose Crest, Cottonwood, St. Vincent, and Church Hill.

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