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Rabbit Creek Elementary Students Distribute Cards to Healthcare Workers and Hospice of Anchorage

Move over Hallmark, because there’s competition in the card-making business – courtesy of some crafty fourth-graders at Rabbit Creek Elementary School.

Rabbit Creek Elementary Teachers Holly Rinehart, Claudia Liebsch, and Kipp Dixon had a special assignment for their fourth-grade students before the winter break – distribute holiday cards to frontline healthcare workers and the Hospice of Anchorage.

Local artist Leslie Robertson – a familiar face to Rabbit Creek for her past collaborations – was brought in to offer assistance for the 39 fourth-graders tasked with making three cards each.

Concluding a harder-than-normal year lead to an artistic theme that truly captured their message: “We’re Alaska strong! Alaskans care about each other and make connections. We are never alone!”

The theme of togetherness was not lost on Amy Tribbett, executive director of Hospice of Anchorage. Cards were delivered to their 31 residents to brighten their day and a Zoom meeting was held to celebrate the occasion.

“These cards mean everything to our patients and their families. Isolation is difficult for our patients, and knowing that our community is with them during these unprecedented times is so meaningful,” said Tribbett.

Rabbit Creek Holiday Cards

Holiday cards were sent to Hospice of Anchorage patients and celebrated over a Zoom call on Dec. 17, 2020. (Holly Rinehart/ASD)

Community involvement is a big goal at Rabbit Creek, explained Rinehart. “Last fall we started an ‘empathy unit’ and Leslie worked with us to make cards for the Fisher House on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.”

In the true spirit of togetherness, it took a village to support the efforts of teachers and students. Additional help from families is a key cog of making their community outreach successful said Principal Kristina Peterson.

“Rabbit Creek is a school with incredible parent support. We work to create good citizens as we teach academics. We have a history of partnering with different groups in our community and it’s very exciting!”

The biggest surprise for Rabbit Creek’s fourth-graders was Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy catching wind of the project from a parent and staff member of his office. On a zoom call with students and teachers, he expressed gratitude for the holiday cards that were to be shared with healthcare workers. The following week, cards were also shared for staff in his administration, including Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum.

Governor Dunleavy Zoom call

Governor Dunleavy offers words of encouragement to Rabbit Creek Elementary fourth-graders during a Zoom call on Dec. 8, 2020. (Holly Rinehart/ASD)

“He [Governor Dunleavy] answered many, many questions and admired their hard work in online schooling. It was an incredible gift for our students to be spotlighted this way,” said Rinehart.