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Dayton students send personal messages to soldiers

Karel Ancona-Henry
Special to the Nevada Appeal

Students in Ann Jolly’s combined seventh and eighth grade class at Dayton Intermediate School spent several days writing to soldiers in support of Operation Postcard, an annual event sponsored by Blue Star Mothers of America.

Using this as an opportunity to teach leadership and the importance of personalizing their writing, Jolly instructed the students to brainstorm ideas, to start with the obvious statement and then to be specific, prior to writing the cards.

Working in groups, the students created “graphic organizers,” big sheets of paper folder into quarters and featuring a different writing idea in each quadrant, which were then hung around the classroom for reference.

“It’s important for the kids to acknowledge when people do things for them and to use their own leadership skills in doing service for others,” Jolly said. “This allows them to make others feel appreciated for what they’ve done.”

“I have family members who have fought and so saying thank you matters,” said Cheyanne Strong, 12. “Even to the soldiers I don’t know.”

Austin Purdy, 13, also has family in service.

“It’s nice to send letters … to let them know we think of them,” he said.

The finished cards showed a lot of thought: “Thanks for serving our country and letting us be able to walk out of our houses in the morning and be free to do and say what we want.” “To an amazing, brave soldier. Thanks for bringing joy to the world, your best present to our country that we could have. I (heart) your ability to protect our country.”

“That they know someone cares is important,” said Kylie Pack, 14. “I think they like hearing from us, even when we’re not their family.”

For Aaron Elissa, 14, the little things make a difference.

“This is something we can do to tell them we appreciate what they’re doing and show them we care.”

The nearly 100 cards will be included in packages to local, active duty military stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the U.S.