Whale of a Tale: Elementary School Kids Write Songs and Hundreds of Letters to Save Orca

Morgan the Orca

Courtesy CBS/8newsnow

updated 11/15/2013 AT 3:15 PM ET

originally published 11/15/2013 AT 7:00 PM ET

As Brooklyn’s literary hipsters celebrate the anniversary of Moby Dick’s U.S. publication, across the country, schoolchildren are using words to free one very special whale.

It sounds like a Free Willy sequel: A group of first graders from Tom Williams Elementary in North Las Vegas, Nev., are working together to release a killer whale named Morgan, who’s captive in a small tank in Spain. Morgan’s plight has attracted the attention of activists worldwide for the past three years, but teacher Robin Vircsick’s class of kids may be the whale’s youngest allies.

Morgan the Orca

Courtesy CBS/8newsnow
“We put together this school-wide competition called ‘Write a Letter, Change the World’, and we had just excellent participation,” Vircsick told 8 News Now. “It was interesting. Originally, I wanted to use it to teach writing and geography. The more they found out about other whales in captivity, the more that math was brought into it, because they wanted to know how big are these orcas and how small are these tanks.”

After learning of Morgan’s cramped conditions, the kids started writing letters (amassing more than 100), crafting songs and making pictures to raise awareness about the animal’s struggle.

This group of compassionate first-graders and the rest of the world will learn what’s next for Morgan after a Dec. 3 hearing in the Netherlands.

If you would like to help these young activists free Morgan, you can learn more about the effort here.