Students in Suzanne Reilly’s fifth-grade class at James H. Boyd Intermediate School recently spread their generosity by giving back to the military this holiday season. The class sponsored a specific soldier and his squadron overseas, creating cards and raising money to purchase a VISA gift card for the soldier to buy internet access to SKYPE home or use as he pleased.
In the past, Ms. Reilly has had her classes participate in a number of programs such as Operation Shoebox during the holidays, but this was the first time her class ever took part in sponsoring a soldier. She sent home an information sheet to inform parents of the service project and with the help of the students and their families, the class raised $300 to put towards the gift card.
As part of the sponsorship program, the class received a photo of their adopted soldier and his squadron. “The students were thrilled,” said Ms. Reilly. “It made it that much more real.”
The class learned about the history of the 101 Airborne Division, where the squadron is from, and drew patriotic pictures for them. Many of the students personalized their cards and drawings with the squadron’s logo to send over. The class also took a group photo to send to their adopted soldier with a self-addressed envelope in hopes that he would write back.
Ms. Reilly received a call on Thanksgiving from the soldier’s mother and father, thanking her personally for the gift card, notes and drawings. They read all the cards and told Ms. Reilly that they were moved by the thoughtfulness from complete strangers. The package was mailed to Afganistan on Nov. 25.
“My class is anxious to hopefully get a response from our soldier,” said Ms. Reilly.