Letters from Home: ECS students support deployed soldiers with personal letters

Published 4:32 pm Monday, September 24, 2018

Students in an enrichment class at T.A. Dugger Jr. High School are putting their writing skills to work to show deployed American soldiers that they are appreciated. Their contribution is part of the Letters from Home letter drive with WCQR and Marsh Regional Blood Center. Letters will be mailed to the organization A Million Thanks, and will then be mailed all over the world to men and women committed to defending this country.

“We are writing letters to soldiers that are deployed so they know there’s people back home that love them and support them and appreciate them fighting for our country,” said student Tommy Crowley.

Their teacher, Tori Reeves, says this reinforces writing skills, but it also gives their lesson a greater purpose.

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“This is a way to put empathy into action as students participate in something bigger than themselves,” said Reeves. “A lot of times, I think kids feel there isn’t much they can do as far as “big world issues” go, and this is a way they can encourage a deployed soldier.”

Empathy has been the focus of a school-wide character program called S.T.E.P.S. which began last year. Reeves said activities like this allow them to practice what they’re learning and to do something significant for someone else.

“It makes me feel like I’m doing a really good thing,” said student Caitlyn Bowling. “When we do book reports, it’s just for an assignment, but when we know it’s going to somebody it makes you feel like you’re doing a good thing and they’ll know that we care.”

This also gives students valuable practice composing sentences and practicing grammar and spelling outside of their English classes. This “writing across the curriculum” shows students the real-world importance of language arts. Most importantly, it allowed them to think about the daily lives of soldiers around the world and to help ease the distance and stress of being deployed.

One student, Allie Stout, said she used her letter primarily to thank them for the sacrifices they make every day. “I thanked them for freedom and for leaving their family to go and fight, and said how much it means to me that they care that much.”

Letters will be mailed on September 30, including letters from some other classes at the school.