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Paper cranes to honor a WWII victim

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This past semester, sophomores Monique Huang, Travis Shibata-Bardaro, and Isabella Tsue led three clubs on Laguna Creek’s campus – Key Club, Japanese Culture Club, and National Honor Society – to work on a service project that honors World War II atomic bomb victim Sadako Sasaki.
According to Tsue, the tradition of folding 1,000 cranes dates back thousands of years ago in Japan, and the crane is seen as a holy symbol of peace, happiness, long life, and more. In fact, it is said in Japanese culture that the crane can live for 1,000 years, hence the 1,000 cranes, and when one folds these 1,000 cranes, the person can make a wish.
Sadako Sasaki, who this project honors, played a part in this tradition when she was facing hard times.
“During World War II, the United States launched the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and it obliterated the entire city. Many died from the large doses of radiation. One of the victims, Sadako Sasaki developed leukemia as a result of the radiation and she started folding 1,000 cranes to wish to get well and for world peace,” Tsue says.
Inspired by the story, Tsue knew she wanted to give back to the Japanese community.
Together with her co-leaders for the Paper Crane Project, Tsue set to work on coordinating Fold-A-Thon dates, where students would work on folding the cranes as a team. After the folding phase of the project, the leaders obtained supplies to string the cranes together for the final product.
It took about two and a half months to reach the goal of 1,000 paper cranes, a feat that all of the leaders are proud of because they had originally thought it would take longer to complete.
“I was worried we wouldn’t reach our goal of 1,000 cranes, but thanks to the help of the club members, we were able to surpass our goal with about 500 extra cranes,” Huang says.
Fellow leader Shibata-Bardaro agrees.
“Not only was it relieving, but it was fascinating to see what we as a community can accomplish and what 1,000 cranes actually look like,” Shibata-Bardaro says.
Tsue was also proud of their accomplishments and attributes the success of the project to the hard work the clubs put into working on the cranes.
“I liked that everyone worked together in unison, which correlates with countries peacefully uniting,” she says.
To honor everyone’s hard work, the project’s leaders decided to donate the cranes somewhere local, so their fellow students could visit and enjoy the final exhibition.
The cranes were sent to the Crocker Art Museum, where they were put on display for the museum’s Teen Takeover exhibit on Saturday, May 13.

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Paper cranes to honor a WWII victim