An unspeakable tragedy is bringing people together from all over the world. Support has been pouring in to the small town of Newtown, Connecticut after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December. A third grader from Janesville is doing her part to help with the healing.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook has affected millions all over the world, including 9-year-old Ariana Pensy.
“I just thought it was super sad that someone would do such a terrible thing,”
Six-year-old Charlotte Bacon was one of the 26 victims killed. To honor her memory, a nationwide contest was set up asking school children to share an act of kindness.
“You know, write it, draw it, whatever you want to do,” said Lara Bush-Pensy, Ariana's mom.
Ariana jumped at the chance.
“She told a story about a girl at her school who she befriended who other kids wouldn't play with and wouldn't sit by at lunch time and this girl was always alone and Ariana became her friend,” said Lara.
She submitted this letter entitled “The Kindness Bucket”
“At school we talked about filling buckets. Because when you help someone, you don't just fill their bucket, you fill yours too,” said Ariana reading her letter.
Ariana says a book in her classroom at Harrison Elementary inspired her to write the letter. The title of the book is “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”
“I think it was such a touching story to people because it was out of the mouth of a child,” said Lara.
Despite hundreds of submissions, Ariana was one of eight entries that won.
“I felt like I was going to scream,” said Ariana. “At one point I think I did!”
“I wasn't surprised when I heard it was Ariana because that's kind of who she is,” said principal Jessica Grandt-Turke. “She is a very, very kind, very kind student she looks out for others,”
Ariana and her mom traveled to Newtown.
“I am in awe of their strength and what they're doing out of that terrible tragedy,” said Lara.
And Ariana received her award.
“They said congratulations a lot,” said Ariana.
She also brought along a bucket. Inside the bucket were messages from her classmates written on 26 paper hearts, one for each victim.
“She wanted to get a pink bucket because Charlotte Bacon's favorite color is pink,”
As the community and the country continues to heal, Ariana hopes her small act of kindness can help in a big way.
“The bad stuff gets a lot of attention so when good things happen, it's awesome,” said Lara.
Former badger football star and current NFL defensive MVP JJ Watt heard about Ariana's act of kindness. He treated Ariana and her mom to a nice dinner in Pewaukee as a way to say thanks.