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1,000 Cranes of Hope unite Kinser Elementary School with Antilles Elementary School

For Immediate Release — May 3, 2018 | Kinser ES

1000 Cranes for Hope

May 3, 2018 — Torii Station, OKINAWA, Japan – While Puerto Rico recovered from the effects of Hurricane Maria last fall, students from Kinser Elementary School on Camp Kinser, Okinawa, assembled colorful paper cranes to make a “senbazuru” for students at Antilles Elementary School.

The project was a result of Kinser Elementary’s culture club led by Mrs. Ayano Shimojo, the school’s culture teacher. In an effort to show solidarity with those half-way around the world, students at Kinser Elementary asked the local and military community for support and participation in folding and dropping off the cranes throughout various locations on Camp Kinser  in Okinawa. The momentum was such that even schools from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) – Europe were involved in contributing to the 3,000 crane effort.

“It is a long-standing belief in Japan that by folding 1,000 origami paper cranes you will be granted a wish by gods,” said Shimojo. “Being from Okinawa I am all too familiar with the devastation typhoons can leave on our communities; and, when Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane Maria, despite the tragedy, my students elected to use this as a cultural and community outreach effort to convey something meaningful to students of Antilles Elementary School.”

Not soon after the 3 senbazuru were delicately packaged, shipped and delivered to Puerto Rico.

“We recognized that this was no trivial gesture on the part of Kinser Elementary School’s culture club students, and on the contrary, we conducted a ceremony of our own to pay tribute and honor the cultural significance that these beautiful cranes offer,” said Ms. Lydia Blazquez, Antilles Elementary School principal. “Equally inspiring is the social consciousness displayed by such young minds to consider us and devote their time and energy to send us a message of hope.”

In fact, the culture club students devoted recesses and after school time to accomplish the mission.

“We live in a globally-connected world, and so it’s important that our students be in tune with events that take place beyond the island of Okinawa and display an understanding and compassion for those elsewhere,” said Dr. Lucille Sutherland, Kinser Elementary School principal. “While I’m grateful for the students’ efforts and devotion, we could not have done this without the guidance of Ms. Shimojo, Chief Warrant Officer John Hyatt (a food service officer with Headquarters Regiment, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force) and the Camp Kinser Community.”

The delivery was made possible thanks to additional efforts from Shirley Lanham Elementary School in Atsugi, Japan and Edgren High School’s Engineering Class – who built the shipping container for the cranes – at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

For additional photos/videos please click on the following link -

Pacific Public Affairs


The DoDEA Pacific Public Affairs Office initiates and manages DoDEA's communications and outreach efforts for the Pacific to include Guam, Japan, Okinawa, South Korea. The office is responsible for media relations, internal information programs and communication with students, parents, teachers, school administrators and the public.

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