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Butterflies at Oliveira

By Miriam G. Mazliach

April 23, 2013

Since mid-March, the young students of Oliveira Elementary School in Fremont have been bringing in their pennies and coins, for a campaign called “Pennies for Patients,” to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All of their hard work is dedicated to the memory of nine-year old Lynette Santos, a beloved student, who had passed away on October 18, 2012, after several brave years of fighting her Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

The students, by their thoughtfulness are also honoring another former student, Steven Irvin, Oliveira Class of 2003, who is currently in remission from the disease.

To thank and celebrate her students, Principal Linda Anderson planned a special surprise for the school’s students. On the afternoon of April 11, the entire school gathered outside on the grassy field near the playground. Principal Anderson and a staff member addressed the students and dramatically unfurled a long scroll, to announce the grand total of $3,742.89 raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

A teacher from each classroom was positioned on the play structure, and when given the signal by Anderson, released the 24 butterflies into the air as a remembrance of Lynette who had loved butterflies.

The sight of the fluttering butterflies in flight enthralled the youngsters who stood and watched, delighting in this spectacle of nature.

Anderson told the students, “You should be so proud of yourselves, for giving back and doing so much. Education is critical to learning, to be able to think about and do these things. Work as hard as you can and soar, just like these butterflies.”

As an additional tribute, a memorial bench is being installed, a gift from Principal Anderson to the Oliveira Staff. The plaque states, “In Memory of Lynette A Santos Always in Our Hearts.” It has a picture of a butterfly on top.

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