BMS Inspires Westport’s Sister City Youth

More than 70 years ago, Marigny was recovering from World War II.

Westport adopted the French town as our sister city. We sent clothes, food and gifts. Students here joined the effort, writing letters to their counterparts. Decades later, recipients of those notes have not forgotten how much that meant.

Today Westport has another sister city: Lyman, Ukraine. The personal tradition continues, at Bedford Middle School.

When physical education teacher Dan Barberio heard about the Lyman connection, he wanted to help. He and fellow Spirit & Leadership Team members Don Savage and Sara Harding got every 7th grade student involved.

The youngsters found many ways to connect. Some wrote notes. Others drew pictures, or created origami.

They described their lives here, and expressed concern for the war-torn town. “You got this!” one BMS student wrote.

“I know how strong your country is,” another said. “I have so much respect for you.”

Some of the messages were written in Ukrainian — by a few students here who know the language, and by others using Google Translate.

Two languages, one message.

There 200-plus letters and pieces of art will be delivered — personally — to Lyman next month. Ukraine Aid International — the non-profit organization formed by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — will ensure that students in our sister city receive the messages of support and hope.

Inspiration through origami.

Their schools have been destroyed. Their lives have been shattered.

But they will know that at a school called Bedford, in a town named Westport, strangers — now friends — care.

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