Local schools see students rally behind stricken Buffalo Bills football player

Thousands of Butler County students are combining forces to send prayers and well-wishes to stricken Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin and to young Bills fans in the NFL team’s home community.

Officials with Hamilton and Fairfield school systems announced Thursday students are working to show their support as Hamlin struggles to recover from his game injuries while in critical condition at University Medical Center in Cincinnati.

ExploreBuffalo Bills: Safety Damar Hamlin showing ‘remarkable improvement’

Thousands of students at Hamilton’s Ridgeway Elementary will be forming a giant human heart outside Friday for an aerial drone photo to show their joining with Buffalo fans – and millions across America – who are praying for Hamlin’s full recovery.

Students in both districts are writing letters to Hamlin, his family and team voicing their wishes for his return to health. Some classrooms are setting up Zoom meetings with Buffalo area school children to share their solidarity in backing the impressive young NFL player who is notable for his charitable efforts in helping youngsters in that New York state region.

There are also valuable, non-classroom lessons to be learned from this tragedy and the nation’s rallying behind the young player, said Kathy Wagonfield, principal of Ridgeway.

“We are doing this because we are constantly tying in learning with the real world. Children are having great discussions and their thoughts/writing are amazing,” said Wagonfield.

“Additionally, this is a good opportunity for us to not just talk about the news, but do something about it. Kindness has prevailed in mysterious and wonderful ways since Monday night across the globe.”

“And it is a perfect time for us to discuss kindness and how individually and together we can make a difference. Children naturally have such wonderful compassion and I am honored to be able to witness this compassion daily. I just made an announcement a bit ago about Damar waking up and the entire school erupted in applause,” she said.

At Fairfield Schools, Kimberly Hauer, director of human resources, said Hamlin’s near-death during an NFL game “has impacted our entire community.”

“Our Fairfield family wanted to have a way to show Damar and his family - both his personal family and football family - that we stand united behind them on the road to recovery.”

“There are no greater lessons for our students to learn than the importance of showing compassion to others and how to rally behind someone in need of help,” said Hauer.

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