There may be many miles between Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas and Solvay Elementary here in Central New York, but the impact of what happened has certainly been felt across the area.

Second grade teacher Melissa Boileau knew heavy discussions would soon be taking place in the classroom, so she made a commitment to spread love, kindness, and care to her students after the tragedy.

“I try very hard, one of my main important things as an educator is to create more of a little family environment in my classroom,” she says.

Melissa likes to wait for her students to bring up heavy topics and makes sure what the students know is factual but also appropriate for kids. “We don’t want them to be afraid to come to school,” she says.

The second grade class decided to come together after the shooting in Uvalde to send paper flowers to the community there, sharing their thoughts, love, and compassion. Melissa first heard of the project in a national teacher Facebook page and decided to bring it to her very own classroom at Solvay Elementary.

“I think it helped kind of have them work through a little bit how they were feeling. It felt like they could do something kind for strangers and for people that are thousands of miles away from where we are here in Syracuse,” Melissa notes.

Melissa makes sure her students know that they too can be role models demonstrating kindness and respect even at a young age.

“They are the most kind and compassionate people,” Melissa adds.

The flowers have in fact arrived in Uvalde and the point person said they would keep Melissa in touch to see how the flowers are displayed when the students and teachers return to school.