Photo by Jonathon Gruenke

Commitment to Community Service

Victory Garden

As a condition of participating in Friends’ annual summer teachers conference, each participant is expected to work with their students, school, and community to fulfill a community service project. The result is countless service-learning initiatives popping up across the nation that promote critical thinking and personal reflection while encouraging a heightened sense of community, civic engagement, and personal responsibility.

The World War II era was a unique moment in time when the nation was unified with a sense of purpose and mission to defeat forces of tyranny and oppression.  Friends’  annual summer teachers conference, and subsequent community service initiatives, brings that spirit of unity to countless towns and cities across the country and help to create the next Greatest Generation of tomorrow.

Community Service Projects

Alabama

Erin Coggins – Sparkman High School in Harvest, Alabama 2018

Ms. Coggins and her students participated in the “Wings Over Courtland” events, a local WWII event that focuses on the history of the Courtland, Alabama airbase. The students served as living history for the education day of the event.  

Students taught 110 sixth grade students on subjects including: Army Air Forces recruitment, home front, propaganda, and planes. They dressed in 1940s clothing and shared first hand account stories from the airbase.

Arizona

Kimberly Hartmann – Scottsdale Christian Academy in Phoenix, Arizona 2017

For the annual Renaissance Faire in which students make a sell wares to raise money, Ms. Hartmann’s students chose Arizona Honor Flight as the charity to which they would donate all their proceeds. They were able to donate $10,000 to Honor Flight Arizona.

Christine Lewis – Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona 2018

Students in all 5 of Ms. Lewis’s American History classes created a visual research project of an individual of interest to them who played a role in the World War II war effort at home or abroad. Students were encouraged to research a family member, however were able to pick any American of interest to them from the time period. Their visuals included photographs of their individual, a map of their sphere of involvement, information pertaining to how they aided in the war effort, and a personal statement from the student’s point of view. The goal of this project was for students to connect to a specific individual from the WWII period to better understand the role individual Americans played in the eventual Allied victory.  

Students also created appreciation cards for Veterans currently living in a neighboring retirement community. The cards were delivered with food for the community’s Veterans Club. The goal of this part of the project is for students to express their gratitude to a different generation for their service to the country.

Nicole Mollencopf – Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona 2017

Ms. Mollencopf partnered with the varsity baseball coach at her high school, who is a veteran himself, to host a military service night. The goal was to identify and recognize veterans in our school, family members, and local community members, and increase lines of communication to help share their stories and experiences and keep them alive in the younger generations.  

To get the word out for the military night, the coach had all of his players on the varsity team write a hand written thank you note/invitation to the game. They were to thank the veteran for their service and invite them to the game to be recognized, and they were instructed to give the letter to any veteran they knew. For the students who did not know a veteran, they took the notes to the senior living residence and gave them to the Veterans Clube there.  

One of the players had a grandfather who played baseball in high school, then served in Vietnam and was awarded the Purple Heart for his service. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game. Also at the game, the JROTC did a special presentation of the flag, and the veterans present were honored.

Bryan Rossi – Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona 2019

Mr. Rossi and another teacher did a fundraiser for a current Veterans group related to Afghanistan and Iraq.  

Sandra Trevino – University of Arizona South in Sierra Vista, Arizona 2018

Students interviewed a World War II veteran at a local assisted living facility in Tucson. The residents were very excited to discuss their experiences with the University of Arizona students. The students interviewed a World War II veteran about their duties and how they could create a math or science activity that corresponded to their daily experiences. The activities were then taught to K-5 grade students at a local elementary school in the after-care program. The students rotated through all eight teachers stations. At each of the stations, the teachers had a math and science activity, and one was required to have a connection to the WWII veterans and their experiences.  

The elementary students loved learning about many different aspects of World War II as it was integrated in a math/science hands-on activity.

Arkansas

Jeff Holiman – Poyen High School in Poyen, Arkansas 2019

Mr. Holiman and his students worked with the Poyen Veterans Memorial Committee for the Wreaths Across America ceremony in December. Students participated in the program, the setup, and the setting out of wreaths.

They also planned a clean up/beautification day consisting of cleaning around our Veterans Memorial and veterans grave sites. This had to be postponed due to COVID-19.

Cherese Smith – Ozark Junior High School in Ozark, Arkansas 2019

For the Hillbilly Heroes project, each nine weeks a different group of heroes in the town was honored. The students donated items and money to be given to a different group of people each nine weeks. For example, the first nine weeks the students collected water bottles and donated them to the local firefighters.

California

Scott Bradley – Fred C. Beyer High School in Modesto, California 2019

Mr. Bradley and his students welcomed a group of students from Japan. The American and Japanese students compared and contrasted Japanese and American history on such events as Hiroshima, Midway and Pearl Harbor. After several students presented their findings to the VFW post 3199 to see the reaction from the veterans.

Sarah Greif – Academy for Academic Excellence in Apple Valley, California 2019

Ms. Greif had her students interview a veteran. They could work together or in a group of 3-4. They brainstormed up to 20 questions to ask their veteran. Students created a video of the interview or create an iMovie recreating the life of their veteran. As a class, they will put all movies/videos into a GoogleSite. Each group or individual  invited the veteran to come to school the day of their presentation and present their projects. Students also created thank notes and cards for their veteran.

Justine Kuehle – San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California 2019

San Rafael High School has an abandoned garden that has been untouched for a long while.  Ms. Kuehle and her students have now opened up the Bulldog Garden and started with the clearing out of brush and weeds. After cleaning it up, they started planting veggies and fruits.  he plan is to offer the garden work days every Monday after school.  The students will be able to help out and make something from their efforts.  Once they start getting food grown we can have the students distribute it to hungry students at our school and to our low income families.  They are thinking of also giving bundles of extra food to our homeless community in San Rafael. The project was delayed due to COVID-19.

Richard Vanden Bosch – Hickman Middle School in Modesto, California 2019

Mr. Vanden Bosch brought in WWII vets to his class and had them share with the class. He also prepared an enrichment class on Character Education that will parallel the sacrifice associated with military service.

Connecticut

Lucy Berry – Middlesex Middle School in Darien, Connecticut 2018

Ms. Berry and her students worked with their local community to honor war time veterans by placing their names on existing street signs as a way of bringing attention to the sacrifice and service of local veterans. They worked with the Town Board of Selectmen, Department of Public Works, Police and Traffic Commission, and the Memorials and Ceremonies Commission and allowed members of the community to apply for the honor of having theirs or their loved ones names placed on the signs.  

The first street sign was installed and unveiled during a Memorial Day ceremony on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in 2019. The projects has continued since then.  

The students wrote essays that were submitted to the Memorials and Ceremonies Commission for one to be chosen to be read at the installation ceremony and at the Memorial Day celebration the next day. Students made posters advertising the first Street Sign ceremony and placed them around town, inviting people to come see the unveiling. In the future, information about the chosen veterans will be available for students to work with when they study U.S. involvement in foreign wars.

Florida

Dina Casabianca – Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida 2018

Ms. Casabianca and her students volunteered at a local thrift shop that helps homeless veterans get back on their feet. When they get housing the thrift shop gives them furnishings, delivers, and helps them set up.  They also provide toiletries, socks, clean clothes, etc. All of the proceeds are going towards helping the veterans. The students sort items, put things on shelves, fold clothes, tag items, and do whatever needs to be done.  

They also started a project called the “Souper Bowl.” They planted a garden, and the students are making clay bowls.  They are working with local artists who have helped tremendously.  They made soup from the vegetables and then sold it. All of the proceeds went towards the veterans.

Maryanne Hipple – Clearwater High School in Clearwater, Florida 2019

Ms. Hipple sponsors the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at her school.  Family Resources, a local community organization, offers SafePlace2Be "a short-term residential care and counseling, offering a safe refuge for homeless and runaway youth as well as respite and intervention to families in crisis".  They did offer an LGBT specific shelter, however they lost funding for it. Still, they serve many at-risk LGBT youth in the area. Last year, the GSA collected toiletries at their holiday party and donated them to Family Resources. This year, they expanded on that by asking the members bring toiletries to each meeting in lieu of dues. Then, on a monthly, or bimonthly basis, they donated them to the shelter.

Hope Myers – The Benjamin School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 2019

During Holocaust Remembrance Week, Ms. Myers and her students hosted a film festival. They watched The Great Dictator (1940) on the school's movie screen with a professor of history  giving a brief talk setting the movie in context of how Hollywood saw the early treatment of the Jews in Germany and Poland. A student, who won the essay competition, will introduce the professor. They invited all the JCCs and assisted living communities to come and the NHS and other school clubs assisted the elderly in getting their seats and having a great experience.

David Traill – Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach, Florida

Mr. Traill and his students hosted a Virtual Honor Flight for local veterans. They held the Virtual Honor Flight inside their local VA Hospital to honor the veterans there who were too fragile medically or physically to go on a standard Honor Flight. They brought the experience, as much as possible, to those men and women with a special program at the hospital.

Georgia

Ella Kathryn Hill – Lumpkin County Elementary School in Dahlonega, Georgia

Ms. Hill and her students hosted a Veterans Day breakfast and program honoring their local Veterans in the community, from Frank Merrill Ranger Camp, the University of North Georgia, and school families.

Idaho

Honore Storms – Idaho Falls High School in Idaho Falls, Idaho 2017

Ms. Storms worked with other teachers in the Social Studies department at her high school to take up to 150 students on a field trip to the Minidoka National Historic Site where Japanese-American citizens were interned during World War II. Field trip requirements included the recognition of a WWII veteran – which could be done by visiting with residents at a local care center, volunteering at the Elk’s Lodge annual veterans dinner, or researching family history – and attendance at two evening lectures to which parents and community members were also welcome.

Illinois

Stephanie Naegele – Eric Solorio Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois 2019

Students spoke out on issues that affect them and their communities. These speeches were presented in front of admin, students, staff and community partners. These powerful speeches had lasting, transformative impact on the people who witnessed them. The next unit we called soapbox solutions was where we identified some of the top issues students wanted to address in their community and in groups cane up with solutions. In this unit, students identified the solutions they would like to enact  and each step in how to enact them. They researched how other countries have dealt with the issue and then incorporated elements of that into their plans. The students were supposed to get feedback from community organizers on their solutions and then go back and revise the plans given their feedback. They would then enact these plans. Everything was put on pause due to the Teachers Union strike in Chicago, followed by COVID-19.

Indiana

Todd Golding – Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana 2018

Mr. Goldings students transcribed primary sources for the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers, making the historical documents more accessible to the general public. They also worked to format an Okinawa Marine veteran’s memoirs and bound them into books which were presented to the writer. Students read his bio and brainstormed how to get raw memoirs and materials to a publisher and printer.

Juliet Lonetto – Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana 2018

Ms. Lonetto and her students organized and ran a USO party at a local senior community residence called Friendship House. They decorated the dining hall, brought animals from the local humane society, arranged for a magician to perform, and brought in a jazz quartet to play era music. During the party, they honored three WWII veterans with military caps embroidered with “ WWII Veterans Served Proudly” on them.  About 15 other veterans were honored too.  Their pictures were on display with which war they fought and branch of service.

Iowa

Aaron Van Beek – Kinsey Elementary in Sioux Center, Iowa 2019

Mr. Van Beek’s students learned about the different branches of the military during and focused on the memorials that are dedicated in DC (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) in addition to looking at why it is important to remember each of these times.  To finish the unit, the created an agamograph to display in the hall for other students to walk by and see both sides as well as read each student's thoughts on "Why we should honor our Veterans?"  The final project was to make Mail Call for the Veterans that fly on each of the flight Midwest Honor Flight takes out to DC.

Kansas

Alyssa Overfield – Ottawa Middle School in Ottawa, Kansas 2018

Ms. Overfield had her students reach out to and interview local veterans. Students then brainstormed ways to raise money for local veterans as a school.

Kentucky

April Watkins – Bernheim Middle School in Shepherdsville, Kentucky 2019

Ms. Watkins and her civics club committed to a school year long focus on honoring and serving veterans. They planned their school's annual Veteran's Day ceremony. Students hosted either a breakfast before the program for all of the invited veterans in attendance. The civics club will meet regularly and will complete monthly service projects throughout the year to honor veterans. They partnered with the local Honor Flight organizations to write cards and letters to those returning from their flights. This project was postponed due to COVID-19.

Louisiana

Denise Lanie – Ovey Comeaux High in Lafayette, Louisiana 2017

After their unit on World War II, Ms. Lanie’s students researched the name of a World War II veteran from Louisiana who was buried overseas. They used Ancestry classroom, Fold3, ABMC, and other sites to conduct the research. They then created a slide with the information they found and presented to the class. The class then compared their military service information to the theaters of the war and some of the battles they had studied. Many students picked last names they knew and some even realized these men were related to them. They then remembered these men over Memorial Day weekend.

Maine

Shane Gower – Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, Maine 2019

Maranacook Community High School started a club to promote Social Studies in the school and community and to increase civic engagement in the students. Mr. Gower started a chapter of the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society is the only national organization for high school juniors and seniors that recognizes excellence in the field of social studies and is affiliated with the National Council for the Social Studies.  

The Rho Kappa MCHS program is designed to empower and guide student leaders to promote Social Studies in their school and our community as well as recognize student achievement in Social Studies. Students will assist in the planning of a Memorial Day Assembly, and other related initiatives. Specific to community service they have been contacted by a town in our school district to get members of our club to conduct oral interviews with elderly community members to record their stories online. Also, they had initial plans to organize and carry out a Memorial Day assembly in our school with the purpose to remind our students the purpose of Memorial Day and to preserve the memory of World War Two sacrifice in our community. This was derailed because of COVID-19.

Maryland

Juan Ataviado – Fairmont Heights High School in Landover, Maryland 2018

Mr. Ataviado’s students interviewed local World War II veterans and wrote a short bio about them. Mr. Ataviado compiled them and has been using them for future reference when teaching a unit about World War II.

Joseph Baclawski – Urbana High School in Ijamsville, Maryland 2018

Mr. Baclawski and his students began a project to create an online website connected to Urbana High School that focuses on the stories of veterans and those who died during the war. Each student researched people buried in military cemeteries and also Medal of Honor recipients. They were also encouraged to seek out local veterans to contact and ask for their stories. The database is a huge undertaking, but Mr. Baclawski and his students started it so that it can continue to be expanded on and become a valuable resource to their community.

Meghan Jacquot – Yeshiva of Greater Washington in Silver Spring, Maryland 2019

Ms. Jacquot and her students worked with Children's National to volunteer with their volunteer service department at the hospital. Her engineering is making useful items for their hospital.

Jennifer Roman – Old Mill Middle South STEM Magnet School in Millersville, Maryland 2017

This project was a Service Learning Project in which students learned about veterans and raised money and supplies for a local non-profit organization that works to help veterans in need.  Students welcomed three local veterans into the school. They prepared questions for the veterans and talked with them about their training, daily life, benefits, and impact of the job on their families.

Students then competed with other 7th grade homeroom classes in a “Coin Crusade” in order to raise money for MCVETS. Students brought in pennies and paper money to be counted in the positive for their homeroom. They also brought in silver coins which they could drop into the other homeroom buckets which would count in the negative for that homeroom. The class with the most money at the end of the week won a donut party for their classroom. Students also brought in socks, hats, and gloves for a Donation Competition among the homerooms; wrote thank you notes to veterans for their service in Language Arts classes; and completed math problems that involved data about veterans in their math classes.  

The students raised $917.45, as well as over 100 pairs of socks, hats, and gloves for veterans at MCVETS.

Massachusetts

Mark Vital – The Advanced Math & Science Academy in Marlborough, Massachusetts 2017

Mr. Vital and his students collected sweatshirts, jackets, blankets, and other such cold weather supplied to hand out to homeless veterans.

Michigan

Michele Anderson – John Glenn High School in Westland, Michigan 2017

Three WWII veterans and a Rosie the Riveter came to John Glenn High School to share with students their memories of the events of the attack on Pearl Harbor and how it impacted their lives. Sharing their stories were Colonel Alexander Jefferson of the Tuskegee Airmen, USS Hammerhead submariner Frank Gaca, air supplyman Richard Pilon, and Ford’s B-24 Willow Run Bomber Plant riveter Marg Walters.  

Students prepared for the panel by researching the attack on Pearl Harbor and each participant’s roles in the war. Students then generated questions to ask each of the participants in order to gain a deeper understanding of the participants’ experiences during the war. These questions were either asked during the formal panel discussion or individually after when students had the opportunity to converse with the panelists on their own.  

Students truly gained a better understanding and appreciation for the sacrifices the panelists made during WWII. That appreciation carried over to the all other WWII veterans. This was demonstrated by both written and spoken comments from the students during the WWII united, which happened the following month. In addition to helping students learn more about WWII, the event allowed two very different generations to have meaningful discussions with one another.

Ryan Masters – Western International High School in Detroit, Michigan 2019

Western International High School T.E.A.C.Her Cadet Students paired up and mentored elementary school children at Earheart Elementary School to help promote early childhood literacy.

Minnesota

Win Anderson – Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota 2019

Operation Care Package was a whole-school effort that Ms. Anderson and her students coordinated with the school’s annual Veterans' Day program.  Students wrote cards to deployed service members and collected items for care packages.  Students designed the artwork on the card and the graphics used on the advertising flyers. Students assembled the boxes and got them ready for shipping.

Students did the work of distributing flyers, instructions and supplies . Students in the art department made ceramic poppies that were displayed around the school and then sold, with a portion going to veterans' programs.

Heather Loeschke – Cannon Falls ISD 252 in Cannon Falls, Minnesota 2019

Ms. Loeschke and her students hosted a Veterans Appreciation Night at their school for local veterans.

Douglas Walter Norlander – Tartan High School in Oakdale, Minnesota 2018

Mr. Norlander and his students volunteered to assemble and bag food for a local community organizer called Feed My Starving Children.

Missouri

Amanda Perschall – Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Missouri 2019

Students did a voter registration drive and then some students were supposed to be working as poll workers on election days in the spring, but this was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Jennifer Whitson – Steelville Middle School in Steelville, Missouri 2018

The seventh grade Enrichment class is researching the history of their community, Steelville, MO, through the use of books, newspaper archives, state historic archives, court documents, and interviews of local historians and other citizens. This research is being compiled into documents and placed on the school’s server temporarily, soon to be transferred to the Steelville Tourism Committee’s webpage when the work is completed. QR codes will be created and will be placed on a window of each of the historic buildings (business and governmental office buildings), allowing all who are interested to learn about the buildings and the history of the town.

This research has also been instrumental in growing interest to create a museum for the community, with a proposed completion date of May 2024. The students have been asked to help with the museum project as well.  

The class met with the Steelville Tourism Committee and will be placing all of their research and information on the newly developed Steelville Tourism Committee’s webpage. Students have been given permission to place QR codes on the windows of local businesses and governmental office buildings of town so that the public can access their research. What these students are doing is new in the state of Missouri and it will help their community be steps ahead of other towns preparing for Missouri’s Bi-Centennial celebration.

Nebraska

Melissa Schuster – Superior Public Schools in Superior, Nebraska 2019

Ms. Schuster and her 8th graders brainstormed several service projects that they could do as a group to help either someone in the school or the community.

From their brainstorming, each group had to decide on one idea to accomplish.  Here are their final ideas: make Christmas cards for residents at the local assisted living facility, make Valentine's Day cards for the service members that graduated from our school, helping one afternoon with the After School program (possibly Bingo or another game -- this group hasn't decided yet), and donating to the Food Drive that our school conducted for the school's Backpack Program.

New Jersey

Lisette Rivera – Brick Memorial High School in Brick, New Jersey 2017

For their project, Ms. Rivera and her students raised money to assist victims of the 2017 hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico. They raised about $4,000 and Ms. Rivera traveled to Puerto Rico and bought household goods, food, school supplies, and Christmas gifts for the victims of Hurricane Maria.

New Mexico

Juan Armijo – Mayfield High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico 2018

Mr. Armijo’s students volunteered at the El Caldito Soup Kitchen for several weekends as part of the Civic Education/Rights and Responsibilities unit for their class. They also partnered with a special education self-contained class to complete a civic education project.

Mara McGough-Madueña – Albuquerque High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico 2019

Ms. McGough-Madueña did two projects with her students. Both were delated because of COVID-19.  

1.     Bulldog Closet- Student have begun collecting formal wear for boys and girls and we are working to open a formal wear and accessory "closet". This allows students the opportunity to "shop" for dances and other activities. Eventually we would like to expand and possibly have local salons and such donate services(future).

2.     "Adopt-a Child"- Theirs is a title I school and their feeder schools are also title I. Students are putting together  program which will coordinate with the feeder elementary schools to help needy families around the holidays. They would like to open this up to the school and have either departments or classes "adopt a child".

New York

Juan Cruz – Bronx Green Middle School in Bronx, New York 2019

Mr. Cuz and his students participated in a partner program called History by Design.  The program facilitates a year-long experiential art program that will allow two staff members and students to participate in weekly meetings, visit to art collections and professional guidance. At the end of the year, the students will present a culminating project.

Students were working to curate an exhibit based upon the topic of their choice: gun violence.  They will visit a variety of museums to develop skills needed for research and curating along with art exhibits to deepen their understanding of their topic.  In May, they will present their exhibit. This project was delayed due to COVID-19.  

Rachelle Friedman – Lycée Français de New York in New York, New York 2018

For their project, Ms. Friedman and her students created a video that explored the experiences of the French people and France during World War II by examining life during the war, the Fall of France, the Resistance, and D-Day. Students interviewed those who lived during the war as well as conducting research to include in the video.

George Grobusch – Robert J. Kaiser Middle School in Monticello, New York 2017

Mr. Grobusch and his students established a scholarship in honor of Edward Maier, a World War II veteran and a 2017 graduate of the same high school he dropped out of to serve in World War II. They also created a video biography of Maier. The local VFW Post agreed to fund the scholarship in Maier’s name.

James Mauro – Williamsburg Charter High School in Brooklyn, New York 2019

Mr. Mauro had his students attending youth leadership meetings at the Intrepid Air and Space museum to get an idea of community involvement that World War II can instill in them. After, he had them engage in the Williamsburg community projects to bring the ideals of selfless service to others. This project was paused because of COVID-19.

Rich Saulino – Red Hook High School in Red Hook, New York 2018

Mr. Saulino’s U.S. History classed worked to put together care packages to send to current U.S. Service Personnel overseas. They raised funds, took donations, and invited local Red Hook veterans to join them in putting the packages together to be shipped. They also interviewed the veterans about their service experiences.  

The students and veterans put together 17 care packages of personal care items, stationary, and snacks and shipped them out to four contacts, two of whom are Mr. Saulino’s former students. The packages went to Germany, Iraq, and South Korea.

Ohio

Keith Robinson – Liberty Union Middle School in Baltimore, Ohio 2018

Mr. Robinson and his students created Project Veterans Matter to bring awareness to their community of the impact and sacrifice veterans have made. Included in the projects they started are: Veteran Night at a home football game, lunch with a veteran at the middle school (part of the Veterans Day program), letters to a vet, Wounded Warrior Fundraiser, and more.

Brad Sims – Tri-Valley High School in Dresden, Ohio 2018

Mr. Sims and his students identified all WWII veterans who attended the high schools that consolidated into their current high school. Those veterans were entered into a database of who they are, when they attended high school, what branch they served in, area served, honors received, and if they survived the war.  

They then identified those veterans still living in the area and invited them back as guest speakers and to school events.

Oklahoma

Ronna Haney – Stuart Public School in Stuart, Oklahoma 2018

Ninth and Eighth grade history students are working on a Service Learning Project called “Readers Are Leaders,” with the early childhood students in PreK and kindergarten. Each month on the last Friday, these students visit the early childhood classrooms and engage the early childhood students in think//pair/share activities, reader’s theater, and read to/listen activities. These activities are self directed, self chosen, and self-guided by each “Big Buddy” who is working one-on-one with an early childhood student, “Little Buddy.”

The “Big Buddies” and “Little Buddies” made connections with each other which led to amazingly positive role modeling in the school. The buddies worked on reading, STEM activities, social engagement activities, team building skills, creativity, and more. Big Buddies learned patience, empathy, role-model behavior, and to accept lots of hugs, kisses, tugs on their pants legs, and how to respond to being inundated with 100 questions from a five-year-old. Little Buddies learned sharing, self-expression, social interaction, how to work in groups, and how to be patient with their older counterparts.

Pennsylvania

Matthew Fash – Lenape Middle School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania 2017

This project asked students to conduct interviews with local WWII veterans at local nursing homes and send the interviews to the Library of Congress Veteran History Project. The students also edited the interviews and made short educational documentaries using media sources to tell the story of key moments of WWII. In addition, the school hosted a lunch and reception for the WWII Veteran participants where the veterans could view their documentaries and interact with the students. The project expanded to a 9th grade honors research assignment called the World War Two News Broadcast Assignment. For this assignment, students viewed the interviews conducted by the middle school students, used local libraries, and internet resources to produce a news broadcast that focused on key events of World War Two.

The History Corps Club within the school district has successfully interviewed and archived the stories of World War II veterans by partnering with local nursing homes and members of the broader community.

David Jacoby – Council Rock High School South in Holland, Pennsylvania 2018

Mr. Jacoby and his students set up a new school club called “Words for Warriors,” in which the students write and send letters and care packages to troops stationed overseas.

Ellen Resnek – Downingtown East High School in Exton, Pennsylvania 2017

In this project, Ms. Resnek wanted to share the meaning of the World War II Memorial with both the students in her local Downingtown Area School District and students from Denmark. She asked students to keep a journal of reflections on collected memories and their reflections.

Students began by learning about what war memorials are and the reasons for their creation. The project involved looking at the different types of war memorials that can be found in both the U.S. and Denmark. Students began by learning about why they were created, and how the purpose and style of war memorials has changed over time.  

Students then were directed to discover, in depth, Veterans’ stories from both Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Denmark. They used primary and secondary sources to do so, then they created found poems from these accounts.  

These classroom activities culminated with a trip to D.C. in 2017 where students were given a tour of the National World War II Memorial. They then toured similar sites in Denmark when they traveled there in 2018.

South Carolina

Mark Nadobny – Moultrie Middle School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 2018

Mr. Nadobny and his students assembled and sent out quarterly care packages for troops currently serving overseas. The students provided letters of support and donated the requested goods, like snacks, toiletries, etc.

Kayla Stephens – Hopkins Middle School in Hopkins, South Carolina 2018

Ms. Stephens and her students wrote letters of thanks to local veterans for Veterans Day for their Community Service Project.

Maureen Stevens – Belton Honea Path High in Honea Path, South Carolina 2019

Ms. Stevens and her students hosted a breakfast for the veterans who attend our annual Veterans Day assembly.

Tennessee

Henry Clay Blazer – Cocke County High School in Newport Tennessee 2018

Mr. Blazer and his students participated in several different community service projects including a Veterans Day luncheon, helping to create the WWII database for Cocke County, Tennessee, and a cleanup of grave markers at the largest cemetery in town.

Deborah Puckett – Crockett County High School in Alamo, Tennessee 2019

Ms. Puckett and her students prepare dcare packages for veterans in a local veterans nursing home.  They raised funds, took donations, prepared the packages, delivered, and visited with the veterans.  They also wrote cards for patients for holidays and planned monthly visits.

Jason Shelton – Greeneville Middle School in Greeneville, Tennessee 2019

Mr. Shelton and his students started a veterans pen-pal project. They compiled a list of veterans in the area based on people they knew and community input. Then, each student became a pen-pal with a local veteran.

Texas

Lisa Smith – Cross Timbers Middle School in Grapevine, Texas 2019

Students were in charge of and participated in the school's Veteran's Day program. Students brought a canned food item to the program in order to donate to a local charity. Students learned about the importance of Veteran's Day and who some of the veterans are through the Medal of Honor program.

Steven Patrick Berry – W.H. Adamson High School in Dallas, Texas 2018

Mr. Berry and his students wrote cards and created gift baskets for overseas soldiers.

Karyn Cabana – Clear Falls High School in League City, Texas 2017

This project worked with the Battleship Texas (which fought in 5 major campaigns in WWII including Normandy, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Cherbourg) to help with maintenance and restoration efforts. Students did a “Penny Drive” to raise funds to donate to the Battleship Texas Foundation to help with restoration efforts. They also got “hands on” at the Battleship by staying aboard the ship overnight to learn about life aboard during WWII and then cleaning the ship and surrounding grounds the following day. Students who were unable to make it to the ship did a supply drive to provide the needed supplies to support the clean-up.

20 students stayed aboard the ship for the overnight to learn about living and working on the ship. Approximately 40 students participated in the actual clean-up the following day. All students participated in some way – either through planning, donations, manning the penny drive collection, designing advertisements, or participating in the clean-up.

Mark Andrew Kelso – Ball High School in Galveston, Texas 2018

Mr. Kelso had his students spend one day per month volunteering with repair and upkeep of the World War Two B-17G bomber "Thunderbird". One the last day Captain Jack Solari, a B-17 pilot in WW2, held a seminar with the students about the aircraft.  

Students also volunteered with the upkeep crew of the World War Two submarine USS Cavalla. Students experienced actual submarine living and tasks. Students on last day meet and hear from Chief Eddie Janek, USN WW2 veteran.

Amber McMunn – Humble High School in Humble, Texas 2019

Ms. McMunn and her students are worked with a senior facility in their area to raise funds to purchase mp3 players for dementia patients.  The doctors at the facility have found that these older dementia patients are much calmer if they listen to music of their time period.  The students are compiling play lists of popular music from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and will upload those playlists to the mp3 players.

Monica Pohovich – Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Helotes, Texas 2019

Ms. Pohovich and her students worked to make the restrooms a positive place. The students painted positive messages/ messages of affirmation on the stall doors to help combat mental illness/ depression. Students looking for other ways to send positive messages to other students. This is through the Kindness Club.

Christina Silva – Glenda Dawson High School in Pearland, Texas 2019

Ms. Silva and her students did several smaller projects throughout the year. They hosted a Veterans Day luncheon. Students decorated Christmas cookies with life skills/Special Education students. They  planned a Valentine’s Day dance hosted for the life skills/special education students and planned on having a game/life skills day for Easter, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Gabriel Valdez – Rosemont 6th Grade Center in Fort Worth, Texas 2017

Mr. Valdez and another instructor took 100 students to the Dallas Holocaust Museum for a tour and lecture about the Holocaust and Anne Frank. Upon return to campus, students lead class discussions about World War II and the Holocaust. The students then interviewed family members, friends, or others that had some connection to the military. They collected the interviews, and from that they held a recognition service for the local community members that are currently serving or are veterans.

Utah

Kara Bray – Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah 2019

Ms. Bray worked with her sociology students while they discussed our unit on social classes and poverty. In a lesson on community service, they discussed how service builds bridges with communities and works to address the issues of poverty and inequality in society. Students were given a list of possible options for community service and had to choose from the list or get their project personally approved by the teacher. Outside of class, students worked on their project and found ways to improve and better serve their community. Students were given class time to work on creating their videos as well as write a response to the following question: Why is performing community service important to understanding human activity in society? Students seemed to enjoy the opportunity to choose what to do rather than simply being assigned a task. They were able to choose topics they were interested in and things that fit with their schedule.

Virginia

Lani Ashberry – St. Clare Walker Middle School in Locust Hill, Virginia 2019

Ms. Ashberry had her students adopt four active duty military personnel from Middlesex and other neighboring localities. Throughout the year, students wrote these men and women letters and send them care packages.

Maggie Brown – Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Virginia 2019

Ms. Brown worked with her students to lead their school toward "zero waste" policies and practices; things like fixing our recycling program, creating videos for our school news show to suggest ways that students can reduce their own waste (examples- reusable and biodegradable sandwich bags), and finding ways to reduce the amount of paper that our school uses on a regular basis.

Tanika Blunt – King’s Fork High School in Suffolk, Virginia 2018

Ms. Blunt and her students began an Adopt a Veteran program in their town and conducted various outreach programs to service the veterans in their community. These outreach programs included food drives, clothing drives, and A Day in the Life interviews with the veterans.

Donna Clark – Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, Virginia 2017

For the Bataan Death March Filipino War Hero Remembrance Project, students researched veterans who had been Japanese Prisoners of War during the Bataan Death March in the Philippines and compiled their bios. Students then participated in a remembrance walk for the hero that they had researched and written about.

Sara Coan – Caroline Middle School in Milford, Virginia 2019

Ms. Coan and her students have been writing letters to veterans and helping out Old Dominion Honor Flight. About 98 students wrote 3,644 mail call letters for our WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War heroes. Also, on the day of the Honor Flight Mission, some students met the four buses in Fredericksburg, VA for dinner. They were part of the "Welcome Home" celebration and helped serve dinner, clear plates, and get drinks for all the vets. They even wrote and presented poems about each war and its veterans during dinner.  

Also, at Christmas, the students wrote over 200 Christmas cards for veterans at Sitter-Barfoot Veterans Care Center.

Joseph Liddle – Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia 2019

Mr. Liddle had his students research and identify a politician that they are interested in and learn about the issues this politician stands for, and get a general sense of what they do for a job. Then, the students wrote and mailed a letter to the politician that they researched. The goal is to expose students to government and civics.
Also, at Christmas, the students wrote over 200 Christmas cards for veterans at Sitter-Barfoot Veterans Care Center.

Becky Morrison – Poquoson High School in Poquoson, Virginia 2017

Students “adopted” veterans from the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam eras. Students interviewed and videotaped their veteran’s biography and wartime experience. In addition, students wrote about their veteran and compiled a map chronicling their veteran’s journey.

Students also hosted their veteran during the Poquoson High School Homecoming Parade in which the Colonial Williamsburg Model A Ford Club drove the veterans in the parade. In addition, each veteran was invited to attend a PHS sporting event in which he or she was the honorary game captain and threw out the first pitch or did the coin toss. The hosting students made a jersey for the veteran to wear to the game and the game announcer read a brief bio of each veteran.

Students successfully formed strong bonds with their veterans. On a weekly basis, at least one veteran/student pair exchanged text messages, phone calls, or cards. Two girls raised money to buy their veteran a brick in the school Legacy Walk because he joined the Army during World War II and was never able to finish high school.

Scott Racek – Thomas Edison High School in Alexandria, Virginia 2017

Students worked with the entire Social Studies Department to put together a GOT HOPE Walkathon to raise funds for both suicide prevention for veterans and cancer research. Approximately 50 students raised funds in the community for the suicide prevention side of the walkathon. Students sold t-shirts and gathered pledges in the local community. The walk raised several thousand dollars that were donated to the Wounded Warrior project that operates out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Several veterans from Wounded Warrior are scheduled to appear.

The students raised over $1,000 to prevent veteran suicide through the walk-a-thon. The school community of 2,000 was engaged in making it a success.

Anne Walker – Benton Middle School in Manassas, Virginia 2018

Ms. Walker and her students did a series of smaller community service projects that added up to make a different in their community. They collected 1,000 rolls of toilet paper to donate to a local food bank. They sent thank you notes to local veterans on Veterans Day. They collected toys for Toys for Tots. Finally, they volunteered to help lay wreaths at Quantico National Cemetery as part of Wreaths Across America.

Washington

Vernon J. Hare – Mead High School in Spokane, Washington 2018

Mead High School students performed a community service project at the Medical Lake Veteran’s Cemetery. After soliciting local businesses to donate landscaping materials, shrubs, bushes, and such, they used those materials in the landscaping project. The students went to the cemetery and worked on various landscaping jobs for several hours. In addition, they held a presentation from the cemetery’s administrator about the origins of the cemetery and the overall purpose of the facility. They also invited three military veterans to share their story about service.

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Raymond Sun – Washington State University in Pullman, Washington 2017

Wisconsin

Marsha Young – Antigo Schools in Antigo, Wisconsin 2019

Ms. Young and her students worked with their local Honor Flight to honor and acknowledge vets’ service to this country at the airport as they return from trips to D.C. The students created a personal note of thanks to a vet as well.

Canada

Rita Purdy – Ardrossan Junior Senior High School in Ardrossan, Alberta, Canada 2019

No Stone left alone honors the memories of Canadian Veterans by placing a poppy on the headstones of all veterans.  Ms. Purdy and her students took part in this ceremony and brought along their elementary school buddies to participate in the event as well.

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