Medora siblings buy carnations with inspirational quotes to hand out at school



Each Valentine’s Day, siblings Maddie Reece and Damon Branaman receive gifts from family members.

They, however, realize not everyone is fortunate to receive flowers, candy, jewelry or some other thoughtful gift.

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With that in mind, they took a suggestion from their mother and ran with it.

Medora Community Schools’ parent-teacher organization recently sold carnations for $1.50 apiece to be handed out at the school on Valentine’s Day.

The siblings’ mother thought it would be a nice gesture for them to buy some and hand out to girls at their school.

“I just thought it was nice,” said Maddie, a sixth-grader.

“I just thought it was a really good idea to give them,” said Damon, a fourth-grader.

They then took it a step further and decided it would be nice to add tags with inspirational quotes on them to give the recipients — nearly 25 girls in third through seventh grades — more confidence.

Kristen Koerner, the preschool and kindergarten teacher at the school, went online and looked up inspirational quotes. “Let your true self shine,” “Being yourself will always be in style” and “The most important thing a girl wears is her confidence” were among ones she found.

She then included a different quote at the bottom of each tag underneath the name of the recipient and which sibling it was from.

“It was their idea to put the inspirational quotes on them to kind of lift their spirits up a little bit,” Koerner said. “I just googled inspirational quotes for young girls and came up with ideas of things I know that some of these kids need — confidence and self-esteem boosters and things like that.”

Adding the positive message was important to the siblings.

“Just to make them feel good about themselves,” Damon said of the recipients.

“I would hope they are happy and thankful, that they would be happy that they got something, that they wouldn’t have to worry about having to have somebody else do it,” Maddie said.

Koerner said the messages were a nice touch.

“I’ve been there. Middle school is the worst, especially being a middle school girl, so any time that anybody can build another girl up is awesome,” she said.

Koerner looks forward to seeing the girls’ reactions.

“It’s going to be cool because a lot of them aren’t going to know or even think that they are going to get those,” she said. “A lot of them are probably thinking, ‘I’m probably not going to get a flower,’ and then they are all going to get one, so I think that will be awesome. You never know what somebody’s going through. It could lift somebody’s spirits tremendously. It could take them out of a dark place.”

She is proud of the siblings for thinking of others.

“I think that’s amazing,” Koerner said. “I never thought to do something like this when I was in school. Even if it was their mom’s idea, the fact that they were like, ‘Yeah, I absolutely want to do this’ is great.”

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