Daniel Island School 7th graders honor area veterans
Austin Sweeney studied the blank red and blue construction paper on his desk and then got to work. His pencil moved swiftly across the page as he created an American flag, a green grassy field, and then a drawing of a person in military salute. All around the images were inspirational messages…“Thank you for serving,” “Thank you for risking your life,” and “Without you, I couldn’t imagine what the world would be.”
Austin was one of several in his seventh grade class at Daniel Island School that took time last Friday to create cards for area veterans in recognition of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday. Their teacher, Stephanie Dedoes, wanted them to participate in the activity so they could have a better understanding of what it means to be a veteran and an appreciation for their service. Before they created the cards, the students watched video clips about Veterans Day and listened to a brief lesson by Mrs. Dedoes about the Korean War, which her grandfather, now 91, participated in almost 70 years ago.
“Most of the time my grandfather never talked about it,” said Dedoes. “But since he’s gotten older, he’s talked about it more. And I see how much it means to him. When I am out with him and he is wearing his Korean War veteran hat and people come up to thank him for his service, they will take his hand. It just melts my heart.”
Dedoes wanted to focus on the Korean War during her lesson because it is a battle that is not often part of the discussion.
“It was like Vietnam in a way,” she added. “It was a different war where people weren’t as appreciative…They weren’t as supportive. And my grandpa felt bad about that.”
Dedoes hopes her students will have more understanding when it comes to recognizing the many contributions of military service men and women.
“What I want for them to get out of it is to have that same appreciation, even if they don’t know someone (who served or is serving),” she added. “Just to know what people are doing over there to sacrifice everything for us, and just be humble about it.”
A quick glance at the many cards created by her students and it was clear they got the message. When asked what they would say to a veteran if they met one today, the kids didn’t hesitate to share.
“I would like to say ‘thank you for protecting our country,’” noted Berkleigh Hatch. “Without you, America wouldn’t be the beautiful place that it is. I am grateful for the families who stay at home.”
“Thank you for keeping our country stable,” added Maci Gethers. “No segregation.”
“I would say ‘thank you!’” said Xander Villegas. “Thanks so much for serving our country. It means a lot to all of us. And every single time that you or anybody else has gone on to war, we will always respect you.”
“I’m thankful for people serving our country and for protecting my family,” explained Austin Sweeney, as he put the finishing touches on his patriotic card. “I don’t have any family members that were in the Army. But I am definitely thankful for everybody that served.”
Dedoes, who is in her first year of teaching at DIS, plans to deliver her students’ cards to a local VFW this weekend. And she can’t wait to share the news about their passionate response to the project with her grandfather.
“I love sharing with him how I am able to help honor him and our veterans in school,” she said.