Vermont Children Praised for Project Created to Inspire Community

Students at Mary Hogan Elementary School created artwork and a video to bring cheer to Middlebury during the pandemic

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The governor of Vermont Thursday paused to thank an Addison County elementary school for helping uplift its community — through the holidays and beyond.

“I want to thank all the students and staff at the school,” Gov. Phil Scott said of Middlebury’s Mary Hogan Elementary School, where students created inspirational artwork that now fills the windows of small businesses downtown.

With notes like “have hope,” “be kind” and “you can accomplish anything,” the goal was to bring a little brightness to what’s been a dark stretch during the pandemic.

Other messages went into a video featuring students, which Scott showed part of during a statewide COVID-19 briefing Thursday. In recent news conferences, the governor has been celebrating Vermonters who so often try to uplift others.

“This world we live in could use more acts of kindness, in order to give us hope,” Scott observed.

Fourth grader Brady Duguay was part of the Mary Hogan effort to bring joy to community members.

“I hope they know we care about them, and we hope they get the kindness we’re trying to spread,” Duguay said of his neighbors.

Principal Jen Kravitz said Mary Hogan Elementary, which is attended by nearly 450 students, encourages community-mindedness.

“We have to have connections and we have to build reliance on each other so that when these things happen, like this pandemic, or anything else, we’re just a more resilient community,” Kravitz told NECN and NBC10 Boston. “The more interconnections we have, the more resilient we’ll be.”

Fifth grader Elle MacIntyre’s rainbow artwork is now hanging in the window of a busy Middlebury shop.

“I know the pandemic’s been really hard on people and it would make them feel better seeing kind messages or just being able to go up and read them,” MacIntyre said of customers of the store.

The elementary schooler added that the simple gestures were a reminder that it really can be better to give than receive.

“It’s a present for me to just know that’s it’s making somebody feel better and go home happier,” MacIntyre said.

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