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McMahon Students Raise Funds for Japanese Relief

The cold, damp weather outside was hardly bird-friendly. But inside the Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School hundreds of cranes were taking flight Thursday afternoon.

It was the culmination of the Thousand Cranes project, an effort by the CGS Student Council to raise funds for relief efforts in Japan. Japanese, along with Arabic and Chinese, is one of the foreign languages taught at the magnet school, and just last week a group of exchange students from Kojo High School in Japan came to visit, providing added poignancy to the endeavor.

The idea was based on an old Japanese tale of a young girl who became seriously ill, but believed that if she could fold 1,000 origami cranes she would be cured.

"We're not sure what we'll do with them when they're all finished," said Lukas Alfen, the student council secretary. "We may put them on a string to display them, or we might send them to Japan."

CGS students sold sponsorships for their cranes for $1, eventually raising more than $1,200. Thursday, a shortened school day, was devoted to the creation of the cranes, and more than three dozen students turned the school's community room into a folding frenzy, soon covering the stage with cranes made from every color and pattern of paper imaginable.

At the nearby Stop & Shop on the Post Road, two BMHS students from the Matthews Gaffney Foundation, a program that provides college guidance and assistance to low-income students, were soliciting donations for Americares' Japanese relief efforts. Gilynett Montanez and Thomas Patino stood in the chilly dampness for several hours as patrons dropped coins and bills into their collection box. "It's our way of doing community service," said Montanez.

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