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Veterans Day Celebrations | Rocky Heights Middle School

A team of seventh graders at Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) honored veterans this year. The students, part of the Expeditioner pod, created an honor wall and wrote letters to veterans, which will be distributed through Operation Gratitude, a nationwide nonprofit that helps citizens say thank you to U.S. armed forces with “hands-on volunteerism.” Teachers coupled the Veterans Day projects with civics lessons and letter-writing skills.

To create the honor wall, students asked their parents about family or friends who served in the military. More than 150 vets or their families from all branches of the U.S. armed forces responded. Using the information and photos they gathered, the students created a card for each veteran.
“The cards detailed information about rank, job assignment, deployment (if applicable), years served and branch of the military,” said Heather Igel, Expeditioner and math teacher. The cards and photos were affixed to the wall in the shape of the American flag. Veterans who died in combat were indicated with a yellow card, creating a visual representation of their ultimate sacrifice.

“Students really enjoyed the project and sharing their family veterans with the team,” Igel said. “They were really interested in writing and thanking the veterans for their service.” The honor wall will remain on display for the rest of the year.

Operation Gratitude has sent more than 3.5 million care packages to troops and first responders since its inception in 2003. This year, approximately 221,100 letters have been collected, and RHMS added 140 more. The letters will be placed in care packages and be distributed to various locations around the country. For more information, visit


By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Heather Igel



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