First-graders Release Balloons, Wait for Replies

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First-graders watch pink balloons rise from the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School parking lot. Each string is attached to a postcard, with a request to return the card from where the balloon lands. PHOTO BY GARTH SNOW
First-graders watch pink balloons rise from the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School parking lot. Each string is attached to a postcard, with a request to return the card from where the balloon lands.
PHOTO BY GARTH SNOW

By Garth Snow

gsnow@kpcmedia.com

First-graders of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School released 60 pink balloons into the southwest Fort Wayne sky Thursday morning. They shared hopes that the balloons would land in Chicago or Germany or their own backyards.

Julie Peters and Alyssa Knuth conducted their charges to the school parking lot for the synchronized release. A postcard was attached to each balloon.

The youngsters clutched their balloons with strings, assembled in the school parking lot and then released the strings on their teachers’ signal. The balloons rose slowly to the north, crested the building and climbed in clusters through diverging winds and then scattered in several directions to many destinations.

“This is our color thematic unit that we do to start school,” Peters explained. “On Pink Day we talk about where these balloons will travel. Are they going to cross the United States? What are they going to see? We talk about whether they’re going to go north, south, east or west.

“The cool thing about this week is we just came from the Star Lab where we were able to see what [the balloons] will see from the sky. Then we will wait patiently for letters and postcards to come when people find the balloons in different areas.”

For more on the Star Lab instruction, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHsIjtJ8XCU.

“They were very excited,” Knuth said. “Throughout the year we track on a map where the balloons have traveled, so it turns into a yearlong geography lesson for the kids.”

Peters said postcards were returned from many directions last year. “We had some from Florida, Michigan and then we actually had some parents who took them to the Vatican,” she said. “They found them and took them to the Vatican and took pictures and then sent postcards so the kids would know that our world is not just Indiana, it’s the whole world. But the real ones came from mostly Ohio, Michigan and Florida.”

Peters said this marks the 10th year that Seton has held the balloon launch.

Knuth said it’s possible thanks to the parents who donate the balloons.

For more photos, visit In Fort Wayne on Facebook.