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North Hollywood : Bosnia Soldiers to Get E-Mail Valentines

VALLEY FOCUS

February 14, 1996|KATE FOLMAR

E-mail has made Cupid's job a whole lot easier. Not to mention faster.

Using electronic mail and "snail mail," about 100 Lankershim Elementary School students Tuesday sent their love across the miles and the wires to American soldiers stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the NATO peacekeeping mission. Their communications should reach the troops by afternoon today.

Seated around five computers and color printers set up in the school library, the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders learned a lesson in social sciences, geography and technology as they created personalized cards on their screens to be delivered to the Balkans via overnight mail.

Among them was Salvador Mandes, 9, who explained why he was sending a valentine, a white card emblazoned with a red heart, to the Balkans. "I love the soldiers because they bring to us peace," he said.

Salvador, a little shy, said he liked working with the computers because "you need to press the buttons."

Later, youngsters such as 9-year-old Claudia Ibarra surfed the net, finding the BosniaLINK World Wide Web site run by the U.S. Defense Department. Claudia then sent her first e-mail message.

"I sent a message to the soldiers," Claudia explained. "It said, 'Happy Valentine's Day for you soldiers. You are great heroes.' "

With a furrowed brow, classmate Abraham Molina hunted and pecked out his e-mail greeting: "Thank you for making peace in the world. Thanks for everything."

Additionally, the youngsters colored and created designs reflecting the theme of world peace. About 20 of the designs were selected and made into T-shirt decals.

Specialists from Canon Computer Systems brought the computers to the school for the event. Canon expects to permanently donate three scanners, a half-dozen color printers and three desktop, Internet-ready computers to Lankershim within the next few weeks, said company spokeswoman Sherri Snelling.

School Principal Sue Shannon welcomes the donations.

"Very few of our students have computers in their homes," Shannon said. "But no matter where a child wants to go in the future, they'll need computers."

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