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Edinboro University education major reaches goal to help Sandy Hook Elementary School


An Edinboro University student who was moved to help following the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy has reached his goal.

Mike Costa, of Edinboro, a junior Early Childhood/Special Education major, established a fund drive early in the spring semester to raise $2,600 for the Newtown, Conn., school – $100 for each of the 20 students and six staff members killed in the mass shooting. He reached his goal in early June, just as the people of Newtown prepared to solemnly mark the six-month anniversary of the shooting.

“It’s really meaningful. We started a huge project, and with the help of Edinboro, the community, our family and friends, slowly but surely we did it,” Costa said. “It’s not just me. Everyone worked hard to do something for a tragedy that needed to be addressed.”

Costa, who said he was devastated by the shootings at the school, came up with the idea to sell green wristbands with white lettering, stamped with the school’s initials on one side and “26 Angels” on the other – for $5 each. 

The effort received the attention of campus and area media, and sales through the Early Childhood and Special Education Department office began briskly. When sales slowed, Costa and other supporters of the cause began selling the bands at events on campus.

 The emphasis throughout the effort was to do something specifically for the children in the school, Edinboro’s Early Childhood and Special Education Department Chairwoman Mary Jo Melvin said.

When the $2,600 goal was reached, Costa, Melvin and others in the department worked to ensure the money would benefit the children of Sandy Hook before deciding to contribute to a fund that supports family nights intended to bring students and parents together and restore a sense of community to the school.

“A lot of funds have developed for a lot of good causes in Newtown, but because we’re educators, we wanted to be sure it was going to education and the children,” Melvin said.

Costa, who set out to help with the healing of a devastated community, is thrilled with the results.  “Seeing the goal finally being completed felt really good,” he said.