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Sandy Hook Students Say 'Thanks' And 'Happy Valentine's Day'



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Sandy Hook Students Say ‘Thanks’ And ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’

By Kendra Bobowick

Teachers Courtney Martin and Kathy Gramolini watched as their fourth and second grade students bent their heads toward paper and carefully crafted letters to troops overseas.

The older students were helping the younger as they put together Valentine’s Day messages. Harry Eppers, grade four, worked with Matthew Vigneau, grade two, as their handwriting filled the page’s dotted lines.

With a few clues about his recipient, Harry said, “He is interested in hunting and cars.” He had drawn a picture to accompany his letter, which included a car for his “new best pal.” Matthew looked as Harry held up the colored page. Smiling, he shook his head to agree that he liked the project.

Girls Paige Galanis and Ashlyn DeLoughy, grade four, welcomed second grader Grace Bianco to their cluster of desks where they completed a valentine. “I like telling them how much we appreciate what they do,” said Ashlyn. “They deserve letters.” Each girl recalled either a relative or acquaintance that had been in the military or is currently serving.

Fourth graders Tara Franklin and Haley Streck partnered with grade two student Colleen Phaneuf to write their letters. So far, the girls had written Happy Valentine’s Day, thanked him, and asked him questions, Tara said. If they receive a letter in return, they intend to share. Tara remembers a prior valentine project with the troops. “I got a letter last year. It was exciting — I never got a letter back!”

With her pencil busy at work on her letter, Olivia Hage wrote about favorite animals and asked a few questions.

Each student followed lessons about letter writing, Ms Martin noted. “We had them focus on thanks and appreciation, and the sacrifices for their country and wishing them well,” she said.

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