SHELDON—Andyn Bucher and Kamron Kleinhesselink, fifth-graders at Sheldon Middle School, showed their stars and stripes while putting together a letter-writing campaign to send cards to soldiers overseas.
Kamron’s older brother, Travis, is serving in the U.S. Army and is deployed in Africa. Andyn has two uncles who served in the Army.
“It started when Kam and I were trying to think of something as an extension for Kam to do during his day,” said Katie Morris, the reading teacher for Kamron and Andyn. “We knew he had an interest in the military because he has a brother serving. We came up with the idea that he would do a research project on the military, specifically the Army.”
During a Veterans Day assembly, Morris noticed how into it that Andyn was.
“He was having everybody rise, making sure people were standing and acting proper when we were reciting the pledge,” Morris said. “That kind of gave Kam and I a clue that Andyn is also very into the military and honoring those people. So Kam pulled Andyn in. They started by doing a research project and then they expanded it to doing the cards for the soldiers.”
Andyn and Kamron put a slideshow together and presented it to their class.
“At the end, the last slide said, ‘We would like you to make cards with us.’ They had the paper all organized,” Morris said. “Then the other kids got to actually design the cards.”
Then sixth-grade students heard about it and pitched in to help write cards too.
Morris estimated that at least 60 cards were made and sent.
“It was tons of cards, and they were the people that got it started and planning,” she said of Andyn and Kamron.
At the end of December, the students finished their cards and mailed them. They were sent to the unit that Kamron’s older brother was in.
“I took them to the post office with my mom. I brought the cards home from school, I put them in a box and then I sent them to Africa,” Kamron said.
The Army then sent back pictures of the soldiers opening the letters.
“We enjoyed seeing what cards they were reading,” Kamron said. “They looked happy to have received them.”
Andyn shared similar thoughts.
“They looked really happy,” he said.
The duo then put another slideshow together of the pictures of the soldiers and showed that to the class too.
“It showed a bunch of pictures and then the last one said, ‘Thank you for making the cards,’” Kamron said.
Morris said it was a good event for the class.
“It was fun for the fifth-graders,” she said. “I had a couple kids say, ‘Oh, that’s the card I made.’ So they actually saw their cards being read, which I think was cool for most of the kids.”
When asked if it’s something they would like to do again, Andyn said it was.
“We would like to do something similar next year, possibly to send to a different troop,” he said.
Morris added that Andyn and Kamron took care of nearly the entire project by themselves.
“They researched it, they presented it and they collected it. They did everything,” she said. “It was not an assignment or something that was graded, it was something that they wanted to do to support our troops overseas. I think that is extremely impressive that at fifth grade, 11-year-olds would have the ambition to do that. I think that speaks so highly of them.”