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What's more powerful than love? Friendship, kindness and candy hearts, according to students at Westridge Elementary School. 

Second grader Valentine Chukka doesn't just love Valentine's Day because it shares her name — arts and crafts, parties, and spending time with friends is also a huge plus.

On Monday, Feb. 14, elementary students across Lake Oswego participated in what was referred to as Friendship Day. At Westridge Elementary school, students from all grade levels participated in classroom activities that taught them about friendship, goodwill and self-love; all of which tie in with the district's February "character goal" of kindness.

"(Friendship) means a lot to me, like loving your family and friends," Valentine said.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Ellie Ruman enjoyed giving see how happy her classmates were when she gave them the Valentine's day cards she made.

Valentine's class spread some love to one another by making personalized cards for their classmates. Second grader Ellie Duman said her favorite part of the day was handing out her handmade Valentine's Day cards to her classmates and seeing their reactions. She said that throughout February she's learned a lot about what it means to be a friend to others.

"I think being a friend means that you help someone and play with them even if you don't know them — you can still be nice to them," she said.

Down the hall, in Lindsay Harvey's fifth grade class, students wrote on a thin slice of paper what friendship meant to them. Responses ranged from being honest to supporting friends in hard times and loving someone no matter their differences.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Fifth graders in Lindsay Harvey's class wrote down on a piece of paper what friendship means to them. The students then made a garland that would hang in the classroom.

The students then created a garland displaying all of their answers in the room. The classmates also completed other art projects where they wrote their favorite things about their friends, themselves, their school and their community.

"These activities are ways for the students to appreciate not only themselves but people in their community," said Harvey.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - First grader Grady Christian doodled designs on a Valentine's Day card that would go to Stafford Retirment Community.

Other classrooms shared some love beyond the school grounds. First graders in Christina Johnson's class made Valentine's Day cards for seniors living at the Stafford Retirement Community.

Johnson said her class sent cards to the retirement home for about two years after getting the idea from the book "Somebody Loves you Mr. Hatch," which is about a lonely, older man who receives a Valentine's Day card from a community member that makes his day.

Lila Olsen made a giant heart-shaped card to send that said: "I hope you have a great day." She decorated the card with red hearts because they remind her of friendship.

"Friendship means love, and it (makes me) feel good to give some to others," Lila said.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Second graders made homemade Valentine's Day card for Stafford Retirement Community.


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