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Seniors Thank Our Troops

‘Tis the season to be thankful, and so after hearing about the Blue Star Mothers invitation to help provide care packages and handwritten, homemade letters to our troops as part of the Christmas Care Package Campaign, Southwestern High School seniors wanted to show gratitude to our troops for all that they do.   

After recently completing a research and writing unit on war veterans—both past and present, students gained insight into the tremendous sacrifices that soldiers (and their families) make. They spent the week reading news articles as well as books compiled as part of the Veterans Book Project, “a library of books authored collaboratively by artist Monica Haller and dozens of people who have been affected by, and have archives of, the current American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In their printed format, the books provide a place or “container” that slows down and materializes the great quantity of ephemeral image files that live on veterans’ hard drives and in their heads,” according to the website 

According to Mrs. Eimiller, the English teacher spearheading the project, “Students walked away from this unit with new perspectives and insights into our soldiers and what that they experience during and after war.” 

The students confirmed Mrs. Eimiller’s sentiments: This past week we have learned so much about the veterans, and it has opened my eyes to what they do for us,” explained senior Thea Keppel.  

With the learning fresh in their minds, students eagerly accepted the invitation to say, “thank you” and embarked upon a letter writing campaign aimed at letting these soldiers know just how appreciated they really are. “Writing these letters was a great opportunity for our class to honor those who risk their lives for our country. The letters we wrote will be given around the holidays and share with them our feelingof gratitude, explained senior student Drake Greene. 

“The letters are a meaningful way for students to express their thoughts following a week of somber, serious, and inspirational content,” explained Mrs. Eimiller. “Like previous years in which I’ve taught this unit, I am always pleasantly surprised to see just how serious seniors are about expressing their gratitude to our military. The care and time they take in writing really results in a beautiful, heartfelt collection of letters that will, hopefully, be a source of support for our troops overseas.” 

Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. is a private nonprofit organization that provides support for mothers with children in active service in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year they are looking to receive letters written by anyone who wants to show support, as well as small donations such as baby wipes, batteries, and crossword puzzles etc. The deadline is November 28th for anybody who wants to donate items to these care packages that will mailed overseas to the troops. Drop off locations include Starbucks on Fairmount Avenue, Bemus Point United Methodist Church, and many other areas around the county. 

(By Cassidy Davies, SWHS Class of 2019)


Students hold up their cards.

Front row, left to right: Ember Ferry, Breah Orlando, Melissa Todd, Skyler Thorpe, Callie Lindall, Lily Constantino, Mrs. Junie Eimiller. Back row, left to right: Drake Bell, Ethan Hatch, Thea Keppel, Maddie Yochim, Alex Card, Hannah Sullivan, Hunter Johnson, Katja Kranzo, Chloe Bryant, Michael Cammarata, and Drake Greene.


A close-up of the handwritten notes.

The students wrote several letters as part of the campaign.