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UCMS students pen cards for burn victim

Devin Dunbar holds up his Christmas tree card customized for Safyre. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Curtis Carden)
Devin Dunbar holds up his Christmas tree card customized for Safyre. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Curtis Carden)

By Curtis Carden
Sports Writer

The story of Safyre Terry, an eight-year-old girl from New York who lost her family and suffered burns across her body in an arson fire, has made its way to Unicoi County.
Safyre had just one wish for Christmas this year – for her Christmas tree holder received from a thrift store to be full of cards. Since a simple Facebook post hit the internet, thousands of individuals have flocked to send her cards and make her dreams come true.
Since the initial post went online at the beginning of the month, the cards have been overwhelming, according to updates from the Safyre Schenectady’s Super Survivor Facebook page online.
With the Christmas cheer filling the air, the breeze trickled down to the Valley Beautiful as seventh grade students at Unicoi County Middle School took time out of their day-to-day activities to send cards to Safyre’s cause.
“I saw it online,” UCMS seventh grade Language Arts teacher Brian Edwards said on Monday, Dec. 14. “It was touching in a way I thought these kids needed to hear about. They needed to see a strong role model for them. Even at eight years old that little girl has gone through so much more than anybody should ever have to. I thought the children could connect with her and this tied in with what we were working on in class with writing standards.”
Devin Dunbar had just finished his card on Monday and said his classmates used ideas from a video presented by his teacher to make cards for Safyre.
“Mr. Edwards showed us a video about her and how she wanted cards for Christmas,” Dunbar said. “We saw the video and saw a lot of the cards were bought from a store, so we’ve customized different cards. I picked a Christmas tree that was used in the video, someone picked Olaf … We just want show her we support her.”
Jayla Shepard seconded her classmate’s sentiments about the impact the video made.
“We first saw the video Mr. Edwards showed,” she said. “It was really sad because that’s all she wanted for Christmas. At first she just wanted 20 cards, but she’s gotten over 1,000 now. We just wanted to help her accomplish her goal.”
Sierra Stancil said that the class wanted to help Safyre accomplish her goal after all that’s happened in her life.
“We have great people here that are willing to do something for a young girl,” Matt Hensley said about the efforts of the seventh grade classmates. “People here were willing to do something for a young girl who needed help with her life after the house fire.
The post of a young girl’s wish has brought the classes together, Edwards said.
“I’m proud of them, they put a lot of work into it,” he added. “They showed a lot of compassion and it’s nice. This is for the classes in my rotation. I’m incredibly impressed with their efforts, all I did was point them in a direction, the rest was all them.”
The simplicity of filling a card holder was more than enough to bring the classmates together, seventh grader Ashleigh Edwards said.
“All she wanted to do was fill up a card tree,” she added. “She’s already gotten thousands and thousands of cards.”
At the end of the day, It was all about accomplishing the goal of making a Christmas wish come true.
“I feel glad we were able to send Christmas cards to her,” Kelly Galloway said. “We just wanted to make her Christmas wish come true.”