A special request from a student…..

UPDATE: My bags are packed, I think I have everything, clothes, computer and accessories, toothbrush, cat food, cat litter, yes I am bringing my cat Elroy home for the holidays with me, books, RadioLab episodes, Abbey Road and The White Album….and one very important hug.  In about an hour and a half I will be heading to NYC to my sisters apartment…then leaving for Newtown at 7am.

UPDATE: Saturday 2:30pm: I will be arriving at 9am at the Newtown United Methodist Church to deliver the hug.

UPDATE: Saturday, 11am: I have been in contact with a Newtown resident who has put me in contact with the bus driver for Sandy Hook Elementary school who I will be transferring the hug to.  Tonight I will drive up to NYC to my sister’s place, spend the night and head to Newtown on Sunday.  I can’t believe a simple pick up my sister and drive home to NYC has turned into this.  People amaze me.

UPDATE: Hug has been officially transferred from student to me….

I am not sure how to do this, or even how to go about accomplishing this, but I feel the need to throw this out to the internet and see if it helps.

I am a science teacher at a private boarding school in Philadelphia where the student body comes from a single or no parent, low income background.  They are not the type of students who have a lot…..and the holidays are a tough time for them.   So at my school we have a “make a wish tree” where the students write their wish on a paper ornament and tape it to the tree.  We get an assortment of requests from gift cards, to candy, to baseball gloves, to food, to hats, etc.

But this year we were really were touched when one of the students simply wrote “I wish I could give a hug to the families suffering in Newtown, CT.

Here we had a student who knew they could get a gift, but decided to use her wish to carry out a simple act of kindness.

I understand that the families have had enough media attention, and I am sure this request might be borderline inappropriate, but I couldn’t live with myself if I at least didn’t try.

So here is my thought (and anyone who knows me knows this is WAY out of my comfort zone), on Friday I will hug the student who made the request, this sunday I will drive to Newtown, CT and deliver that hug to any individual or individuals willing to accept it.

If you know me, you may be laughing,  I am not a hugger, I rarely, if ever hug people, but there are times in life where we need to step out of our comfort zone, this is one of those times.

If you have anyway of making this happen, contact me, if you don’t, please pass this along to someone who may, or at the very least, just share it.

I really, more than anything, want to make this student’s Christmas wish come true.

Contact: paleoromano@gmail.com or leave a comment here.


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13 responses to “A special request from a student…..

  1. Auntie Connie

    What a thoughtful gesture and what a great thing you are doing John. Don’t know If you are aware but one of the children’s mothers maiden name is the same as ours M………..from Cranston RI.

  2. Maryanne

    God Bless you and your student, I hope you can carry this out. Perhaps contact the newspeople…maybe they can bring light to it.

  3. Passed it on to my friend who attended Sandy Hook Elementary and whose father was a first responder. She may have an idea. I bet you’re a great hugger btw. Good luck.

  4. Cindy

    How incredibly thoughtful of your student…and how sweet of you to deliver her wish. I was just at Sandy Hook center and there were so many people there in need of a hug. I hugged quite a few. I’d be happy to join you.

    • I will be coming up on Sunday, I have a contact I will be getting in touch with. I am not sure of the details yet, but I will be sure to post my plans for people. Will be using twitter a lot as well. My name is PaleoRomano

  5. Cindy

    In fact, I believe your student would get so much out of this if she was able to give the hugs herself. I’m not sure if this is appropriate, but this can be something that would impact her life in such a positive way.

    • I completely agree with you. I was thinking of trying to get her up there at a later time to meet some of the people herself. Unfortunately in these times there are steps we need to take (understandably) to transport a minor across state lines, using a sanctioned school vehicle (not a personal car), and having multiple people present.

      • Cindy

        Completely understood….what a great idea for a future class project/trip, though, led by your student… 😉

  6. So cool to see the hug mission was a success!

  7. MaryAnn McDonald

    Dear John,
    You are an amazing person. The world is in need of more like you. Just as an afterthought, your upbringing…parents, family, teachers, friends helped make you who you are today. You did the rest. Having been born, raised and still living here in Swampscott and remembering it as you do, let me tell you, Swampscott is not the same town as you, and I, remember. So sad. Take care and God bless you for what you are doing.

  8. Rhonda

    I hope you don’t mind, but word has gotten out and there’s a few more of us Sandy Hook residents that want to be there to give you hug to send back! See you in the morning!

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