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Lanterns, luminarias light peaceful night

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POLSON — Cherry Valley students and staff celebrated a night of peace in the season of giving on Dec. 13. 

Principal Elaine Meeks said it was a new idea for a holiday program, and the students loved it. As well as making ornaments for the tree, students and their families fashioned luminarias with paper bags, sand and battery-powered tea lights and lined the hallways. It was too cold to line the walking path outside the building for the originally scheduled peace walk.

Cherry Valley has been holding a giving celebration for three months, and families donated 85 toys to Toys for Tots, more than 100 pounds of food to Polson Loaves and Fish, 110 items for Mission Valley Animal Shelter/Life Saver Animal Rescue and 100 coats for Coats for Kids.

Parents and Cherry Valley staff Desiree Alexander, Brooke Ingraham, Mary Matt, Meeks and James and Shannon Niblack spent about three months orchestrating the event. 

The first order of sky lanterns was stolen so another batch had to be procured, Cherry Valley teacher Doug Crosby said. 

But on the night of the event, after cookies and hot chocolate and some singing around the tree, everyone ventured outside for the launch of colored sky lanterns.

Even the tiniest child watched as the lanterns bobbed gently up and floated away, carrying Cherry Valley’s wish for world peace.

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