Heart sculpture honors Sarah Crane at Cleveland Elementary

The Elkhart teen who inspired a city to be #SarahStrong lives on at Cleveland Elementary through a purple heart sculpture designed by teacher’s aide, students.

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.

ELKHART — It took seven coats of paint to get to Sarahstrong purple.

Sheila Mravec, instructional aide at Cleveland Elementary, designed and painted a large heart sculpture that now sits outside of the school in honor of Sarah Crane — an Elkhart teen who died in December 2013.

Her strength after being diagnosed with cancer last summer inspired the city of Elkhart to rally around the Crane family, creating the Sarahstrong campaign and promoting positive thinking  and “paying it forward.”

“Sarah's life united, and continues to unite, a community,” Elkhart Superintendent Rob Haworth told students and community members waiting to see the sculpture unveiled Thursday morning, May 29. “Elkhart is now, because of Sarah, 50,000 individuals who are Sarahstrong.”

Cleveland teachers who taught Sarah when she was a student at the school picked words that reminded them of the young girl — like “spunky” and “determined” — and wrote them on the base of the sculpture.

Students designed small hearts and Mravec chose several of them to incorporate into the overall design of the sculpture.  Lyrics of Sarah’s favorite song, “Angels on the Moon” by Thriving Ivory, trail across the night sky and moon on the front of the heart.

“Thank you’ doesn't begin to describe this,” Sarah’s father, Dean Crane, said after seeing the sculpture for the first time. 

In a brief speech to students, Crane asked them to let the heart sculpture “be a daily reminder, when you see that purple, to do something for a person next to you.”

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

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