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Arizona students' quilt honors Newtown victims

Cortina School students Brisa Zapata Reaves, Dylan Mendez, and D.J. Drinkwater hold up the quilt which was made for the victims of Newtown, Conn. (Photo by Bob McClay/KTAR)

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- Students at an elementary school in the Queen Creek are honoring the victims of the Connecticut school shootings.

At Cortina Elementary School, Jamie Hunt's fourth-grade class spent the majority of the past week making a quilt for the school district in Newtown, Conn.

"It has 26 stars on the front, and a patch in the middle that says '26 stars will be shining brighter over Connecticut,' " Hunt said. "On the back, it has a nice label of where it came from, and an additional star because we have 27 students in our classroom."

The quilt is the size of a twin bed. It was knitted by Hunt's mother, and includes the names of every shooting victim.

Each student created a star with stencils and paint and markers, Hunt said and added pictures.

"I put a bird, and a cloud, with the moon and a teddy bear," said one student, Bella.

"I put a birdhouse and two birds flying up to it," said Devin. "It's like people flying up to heaven."

Hunt hopes the quilt will be displayed in Connecticut and bring comfort to the people of Newtown.

"We wanted to offer something that would be something that they could hold dear to their hearts," said Hunt. "We don't really want anything in return, we just wanted to do something good. We wanted to turn something that is bad into something good."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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