Campus School Reaches Out to Afghanistan

Campus School Reaches Out to Afghanistan

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Two special needs students in the Lynch School of Education's Campus School have designed sets of red-white-and-blue note cards that are being sold to benefit the children of war-torn Afghanistan.

Krissy Vitola and Lindsay Peterson, who are non-verbal and non-ambulatory, created the patriotic stationery through the school's "Eagle Eyes" system, a device which links users to a computer via a series of electrodes, enabling them to move the cursor with head and eye motions. Campus School students utilize it to draw, read books, listen to music, and learn colors, shapes and the alphabet.

Thanks to the work of several Campus School parents, undergraduate volunteers Michael Genovesi '03 and Erin Barry '03, and the generosity of three local businesses, 1,100 of the note cards have been printed and packaged. Each package of 10 cards and envelopes will be sold for $5 and all proceeds from the project will go to assist Afghan children.

Describing the origins of the project, Campus School teacher Marialice Curran recalled how, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she and fellow instructor Caitlin O'Reilly had watched President Bush's appeal to American children for help in raising funds to assist their Afghan counterparts.

"We asked each other 'What can our kids do to be a part of this?'" Curran said. "We knew they couldn't go out and mow lawns or anything to raise money. These children can only use their eyes. So that's what they are doing for the children of Afghanistan."

Shortly afterwards, she said, Campus School students held a special assembly where teachers helped program the Pledge of Allegiance into computers. The children used independently activated switches to broadcast the pledge in unison.

"While the pledge was being recited, one of the students took the American flag and touched it to all of the other students in the class," recalled Curran. "My heart was just bursting with pride. It was a wonderful lesson in life."

Inspired by the ceremony, Vitola and Peterson created a tri-color design with a special software program devised by former Campus School student aide Sean Santry '00. Officials at Copy Cop, Kinko's and Staples offered to reproduce the cards.

The students now have a handsome and useful item ready for the Campus School's annual craft fair on Dec. 4 in Campion Hall, Curran said.

In addition to the note cards, holiday gifts and stocking-stuffers such as dog biscuits, soaps, wrapping paper, package tags and ornaments - all made by Campus School students - will be available at the sale. Proceeds from the sale of these items will benefit the school.

Note cards are also available by contacting Curran at ext.2-8214.


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