Holy Cross Students in South Portland Meet Veteran Pen Pals
SOUTH PORTLAND---After months of exchanging messages of hope and kindness by exchanging letters in the mail, third graders at Holy Cross School in South Portland were able to meet their pen pals living at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough face to face on Wednesday, May 3 (additional pictures below).
“The students sang two songs for the veterans, painted bird houses, and played games,” said Shelley Assia, a third-grade teacher at Holy Cross. “This was a beautiful opportunity for the students to see the joy their letters have brought to the residents and to see how important it is to give back to our community.”
Organizers of the field trip hope the experience will be one that is remembered for years to come by the third graders, who have enjoyed writing the letters to their pen pals that range in age from mid-70s to 97. In addition, the letters have been accompanied by special gifts over the course of the year. Veterans have included coloring pages for their young friends while the third graders sent ornaments at Christmas.
“The pen pal program is a great learning opportunity for students and a way to give back to those who have served our country,” said Assia. “We wanted to let the veterans know that they are valued and how much we appreciate their service to our country. It’s important for students to understand the sacrifices veterans made, and the importance of saying thank you. This is truly a mutually beneficial program in which our younger generation can give back while learning from their elders.
One veteran who served in World War II included a message of inspiration: “I was serving my country, but I was also serving God. So as you grow – have faith in God. He is always with you.”