Fourth-grade students at St. Edmond Elementary are making Christmas cards this week for those Marines unable to come home for the holidays, aiding the U.S. Marine Corps group Camp Courage.
The effort was motivated by student Ashleigh Walker, whose older brother has just become a Marine.
"Ashleigh's mother contacted me to ask if our class and the other fourth-grade classes could make cards," Sonja Petherbridge, teacher, said. "It's for a project that the mothers of the Marine have."
-Messenger photo by Brandon L. Summers
Ashleigh Walker, left, is one of many fourth-grade students at St. Edmond Elementary School making Christmas cards for Marines. Teacher Sonja Petherbridge supervises.
Camp Courage collects different donations and packages them as gifts for Marines at home and abroad.
"They also like to have handmade cards coming from children," Petherbridge said. "These are going to Marines that are either deployed overseas or are stateside and are Marines that won't be coming home to their families over Christmas. The idea behind this is they're going to have something that will remind them of home."
The project is especially meaningful to Walker, Petherbridge said.
"She's missing her big brother, who won't be coming home for Christmas," she said. "She's loved making the cards, even though they won't be going to her brother. They'll be going to someone else who can't come home."
The students have been working on the cards since last week to complete them with enough time for their efforts to be mailed and delivered by Christmas.
"It fits right in with what we're doing," Petherbridge said. "We're talking about the spirit of advent, the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving, and this is just a simple little project that takes very little effort on their part, but it means something very big to the person on the other end."
Linda Mitchell. preschool through eighth grade principal at St. Edmond, said, "It's a worthy project so kids show appreciation for men and women who serve our country, and it's a good project for us so kids start to learn to give back."
The cards are simple paper, with some construction paper cuts outs and various colors of markers employed.
"They can be as creative as they want," Petherbridge said. "Some are cutting little things out and putting them in, some have written poetry. They're basically wishing them Merry Christmas, and thanking them for serving our country."
The students are allowed to say little things about themselves, Petherbridge said, but not identify themselves in any way. They can put their first name, for example.
The first shipment of cards went out last week.
"The class was so enthusiastic about it, Mrs. Walker said she would appreciate if we could make more," Petherbridge said. "We'd like to wrap it up by the end of this week because of the mail issue."
So far, the school's fourth-grade classes have made more than 100 cards.
"I think we'd like to get another 50 or 60 done," Petherbridge said. "We're in the midst of practicing for a Christmas program, too, so we're on a time crunch. But hopefully we can do it."