MSD alum prompts Jacksonville 1st graders to write inspiring notes to current students

Posted at 4:44 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 16:44:13-05

Messages of support, sadness and hope surround Stoneman Douglas High School on banners and memorials, but sometimes those messages show up in the places, or from the people, you'd least expect.

"I told them just to write a kind message that would make them smile and feel better," said Grace Kelly, a first-grade teacher at Duval Charter School at Coastal in Jacksonville.


Kelly grew up in Parkland and is a graduate of Stoneman Douglas High School.

“I spent my teenage years in those hallways and I couldn’t believe something so traumatic could happen so close to home, my home," she said.

FULL COVERAGE: Parkland school shooting

She now teaches first grade in Jacksonville, where on Tuesday, she asked her students to draw and write notes for current high school students at Douglas.

“I didn’t tell any of them what had happened," she said. "I just simply told them that something bad happened. They were able to comprehend that in whatever way they wanted to.”

What she received back from her six-year-old and seven-year-old students were inspiring words of love and support:

"I am sorry for your coach." 

"Sorry I know that your [sic] sad. Me too I'm sad. But it will not happen again. Pray for your friends."

"I'm very sorry. You are nice. That man is not nice. Hope you feel better soon."

"I wish I can hug you. I love Stoneman Douglas."

"I hope and pray for your school. I hope this will never hapin [sic] again."

Kelly mailed her students' notes to her alma mater.

"What my kids wrote when I received the letters back was so genuine and raw," Kelly said. "Just the innocence and the kindness implemented in their messages. They were very sweet and instilled a sense of hope into others’ hearts."

The Stoneman Douglas High School PTSA said the school received hundreds of replies to a request for letters. They're now asking for banners to hang in the hallways.

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