Some couples love the hype of Valentine’s Day and teenagers are certainly no exception. Teddy bears, flowers, candy — these symbolic tokens can be a big deal for high school sweethearts. But Valentine’s Day can also be a disappointing day for singles — young and old — who aren’t showered with red-colored gifts.
Hannah Harrison is a senior at Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, Florida. She wanted all of her classmates to feel loved on Valentine’s Day, regardless of popularity or relationship status. So, the kindhearted teen handmade 3,250 Valentine’s Day cards with the simple message: “You are Loved.”
The time-consuming labor of love took two months of crafty preparation. “If I didn’t do a hundred a night, I would double up on the weekends,” Harrison told WKMG Local 6. “People need to know they’re loved and to believe in themselves.”
The night before Valentine’s Day, Harrison hung the 3,250 hearts on each and every locker on campus.
“We think Hannah is pretty special and an outstanding individual,” Guidance Department Secretary Melanie Turngren tells Babble. Upon meeting Hannah, she “just instantly felt this sweet, honest, real presence” because “Hannah is genuine.”
Turngren says she was moved to tears by the gesture and compelled to share a photo of the Valentine-adorned lockers on her personal Facebook page:
Turngren tells Babble, “Kids who don’t have a best friend or significant other… they’re not going to come in and get handfuls of candy, cards, bears and whatnot that kids give each other. [And so] to think that something was there waiting for them, and to think that a teenager thought to do that is outstanding.”
And others agreed. Turngren’s words posted to Facebook on February 14th quickly generated more than 2,000 shares and hundreds of positive comments from parents expressing how their child felt appreciated. Sadly, just hours later, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland, Florida encountered a horrific shooting, claiming the lives of 17 people and injuring many others.
Newsfeeds are now flooded with tragic details of the deadly account and stories of grief. While there’s no denying the paradox of how one person’s loving gesture occurred on the same day as another’s act of extreme violence, it’s particularly important to recognize the deep love of people like Hannah Harrison and Melanie Turngren.
To students, teachers, parents, and beyond, “You are Loved.”