Paper cranes to deter nuclear war

Josiah with his hand-made paper crane 171463. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Brendan Rees

Learning the art of origami has become second nature for students at Alkira Secondary College who reached their target of making a thousand paper cranes.
Students participated from all year levels, barring VCE students, in making paper cranes over a three-week period to mark the 72nd anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Alkira Secondary College Library assistant Leanne Fox said she provided support for all students involved, adding that the final paper crane display in the library looked “fantastic”.
“Students and staff contributed their own time at recess, lunch and at home, as well participating during pastoral care time to complete this mammoth task as an acknowledgement of their wish for peace in a world free from nuclear war. In this time of heightened alert, a peaceful future is a concern for us all,” she said.
She said the students challenged themselves to make the smallest paper crane as well.
“We’ve got some that are less than half a centimetre. We had large ones that we hung up around the library, and we also discussed the story linked to it so that really engaged them.”
The students used recycled paper to fold the cranes which is based on the story of Sasaki, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing who died from acute leukaemia 10 years later.
“She heard of a Japanese legend that if she folded a thousand paper cranes her wish would come true to be healed,” Ms Fox said.
Ms Fox said the students were enthusiastic about the project and were determined to make a thousand cranes before the 6 August deadline in commemoration of the anniversary.
“We did it at lunchtime and pastoral care group. Each of the students had a group that met twice a week for activities and worked together as a group,” she said.
“Students of all ages were helping each other which was really lovely to see. There was a lot of co-operation and persistence,” she said.
Ms Fox said she admired the efforts of all participants, particularly how well students shared their thoughts and ideas with each other.
“We’re going to leave them (paper cranes) up, so they’re attached to the book shelf in the library, and there’s a big display up on the board. We’re going to keep them up for the year. Towards the end of the year, I’m going to offer students to come take them home.”
“I was really impressed. We made our target by the date, so we were really happy to achieve it. It was a great project. There have been lots of teachers and people who have commented on how well it went, and it’s a visual reminder too for students.”
Ms Fox said the project was a great collaborative effort and all students were highly engaged.
“There was a contribution from each level. We had participants from all year levels other than the Year 12 who were a bit busy. Some students made cranes at home and brought them in.”

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