AROUND NJ

Jersey students show their love with handmade valentines

BY Lauren Wanko, Correspondent |

They put pen to paper — actually pencils — to profess their love to their parents and siblings.

“I think it’s really important because you have time to share your love with other people. Nothing is more important than that,” said Luca Castronovo, a student at Freehold Learning Center.

Eight-year-old Aiden added something to the bottom of his mom’s card: “P.S. You are the best.”

“I just thought of it. She is the best,” Aiden said.

So, at this point, we know that Aiden’s mom is melting, but she’s not the only person getting sweet notes this Valentine’s Day.

“We estimate that approximately 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged industry-wide,” said Greeting Card Association Executive Director Peter Doherty.

That doesn’t include the packaged Valentine’s Day cards kids exchange in the classroom. Though at the Freehold Learning Center, the students in the art class didn’t buy any cards — they made them. The teacher says it’s been so successful that he now plans to do this year after year.

“This is a great chance for our students to get in touch with their creativity and their emotions,” said Matthew Miranda, an art teacher at the center. “It allows them to think and sit, and think about how they feel about people in their lives that make them feel safe and happy.”

The Greeting Card Association says the earliest known valentine dates back to 1415. Centuries later, the industry began to grow.

“In the late 1800s and going into the early 1900s, many companies established themselves and were known for their Valentine’s Day cards,” Doherty said.

This Valentine’s Day, Americans will spend $933 million on greeting cards, that according to the National Retail Federation. Though these students don’t have to break into their piggy banks for their handmade cards.

Seven-year-old Sierra can’t wait to give her mom her valentine. Hers says, “I love you because you are the best mom ever.”

“It will make my mom feel good to get this card because she loves me,” Sierra said.

Her classmate Nyla wrote a card to her family.

“I feel that they’re very important to me, and I love them so much,” said Nyla.

Though women purchase 80 percent of all greeting cards, Valentine’s as well, something tells us these boys will eventually shop for their own. Luca, another student at Freehold Learning Center, wrote that his parents make him feel like the center of the universe.

“I actually heard it in like, a little cartoon TV show — yeah I heard it, then I felt like I should have done it for this because I thought it was a good answer, and I do feel like the center of the universe when my mom is happy,” Luca said.

It’s something every mom would want to hear on Valentine’s Day, or any day.