Students at Frank Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth have sent special peace cranes to other students around the world. Courtesy / Yarmouth School Department

YARMOUTH — Students at Frank Harrison Middle School recently folded more than 400 origami cranes, wrote messages of peace and friendship on them, and then sent them around the world.

The hope, according to Merry Stuhr, the school’s librarian, is that the Yarmouth students will receive hundreds of similar paper cranes in return.

The project was designed to broaden the students’ horizons and help them see that kids from other places aren’t so different, Stuhr said this week. This kind of outreach is important, she said, because “it can help us see our likenesses rather than just our differences (and) our world needs more of this.”

This is the first time that students at Harrison Middle have participated in the Peace Crane Project; the origami creations were sent out in honor of the International Day of Peace, which was celebrated on Sept. 21.

Using an online portal, Stuhr reached out to several schools in far-flung places. So far, the Yarmouth students have sent their cranes to Siberia, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Montenegro, England and California.

They’ve already received a package of cranes from students in Russia and are looking forward to getting packets from the five other schools soon, Stuhr said. In fact, the cranes from England could arrive any day now.

Stuhr said almost every student at Harrison Middle, which serves grades 5 through 8, participated in the Peace Crane Project, whether they folded a bird, or simply chose to add a personal message.

“Our students were astonished that we were going to actually send cranes – origami birds made with their own hands – to countries around the world. Some had never heard of Montenegro or didn’t have an idea where Siberia was located,” she said.

“This, coupled with the handwritten messages of peace and friendship, really resonated with many, many students. This friendly outreach seemed to make the world feel smaller … (and) a partnering country was no longer just a name.”

Comments are not available on this story.