Third graders write letters to veterans (Hometown Press article)

posted Nov 25, 2016, 2:41 PM by Webmaster lynnville-sully

Contributions from Cayden johnson, Lynnville-Sully HS Newspaper Student

What started as a project of thanks driven by a personal connection for third-grade teacher Mrs. Sabrina Edsen in her second year at Lynnville-Sully has evolved into an annual event expressing gratitude for our country’s freedom that is now in its 11th year.

"This project is very special to me,” said Edsen. “My dad was in the Navy and fought in the Vietnam War. He taught me from a young age to respect people in the military and show respect for our flag and country. With this project, I hope to teach the same values to my students. I want them to learn to be caring, productive citizens who are proud to be Americans.”

Edsen joins forces with Mrs. Beth Yoder and Mrs. Nichelle Plate to gather addresses of veterans to write thank you letters to. Veterans can be a student or staff member’s family member, friend, or the neighbor down the street – if someone knows a veteran, the third graders want to thank them for their service.

About a week before Veterans Day, third graders start writing their letters of thanks, expressing gratitude for the sacrifices made for the freedom we have today. Each day, students devote time to write until each letter is completed. Often, the students add a splash of patriotic color by decorating their letters with red, white, and blue.

This year, Edsen notes third-grade students wrote 113 letters, which were sent to 28 Iowa towns and 22 states. One letter even went as far as Japan, and two other letters went overseas to active military members. Extra letters without a specific address were sent to the Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

“The kids have done a very nice job with this project,” said Yoder. “Mrs. Edsen has kept a notebook of different veterans’ feedback throughout the years. One year, I remember a student receiving as many as three letters back.”

Not only are the students expressing their gratitude and making a veteran’s day a little better, but they are gaining important writing skills in the process. Proper grammar and penmanship skills are being taught and utilized, as well as lessons about addressing letters. It’s a project that has benefits on many levels.

“It’s a lot of fun being able to write to veterans. I wrote to my grandpa because he was a veteran in my family,” said third-grader Kendric Johnson.