had some special visitors attend the school's monthly STAR assembly Monday afternoon.
Students in Charater Oak's "SAIL" (Super Adventures in Learning) Community Service Group hosted Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman at the school-wide assembly. Wyman, who was joined by Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Dr. Linda Schwartz as well as several veterans, was presented with the students' latest project – a banner the students created to thank and officially welcome home Vietnam veterans.
Janet Fournier, who teaches in the SAIL program, said that the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders have been meeting weekly since September to work on service projects. SAIL is a program of , run through the Family Resource Center.
Their first project was related to Veteran's Day, and the students designed a mural for the Veteran's Home in Rocky Hill. They continued the theme of helping veterans by sending boxes of supplies to troops in Afghanistan, repaired more than 100 American flags for veterans' graves, and sent cards to the troops at holiday time.
"After December, they were looking for a new project," said Fournier, who worked with the students to get involved with the state-wide "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans" event scheduled for March 31 at the State Armory.
"At first the students felt like they wanted to give gifts [to the veterans], but what they really want is thanks," said Fournier.
The students in SAIL wrote a poem (see below), using the letters from the phrase "We Thank You," which they recited at Monday's assembly. They also presented the culmination of this three-month project: a banner with more than 1,000 signatures they obtained from people all over the state who also wanted the opportunity to thank the Vietnam veterans.
The students worked hard to obtain all those signatures – including spending a day on the CCSU campus, attending the The Lcpl. Lawrence Philippon Memorial Dance at the VFW, visiting a zumba class, and asking family members.
The students also attended the March 13 meeting of the West Hartford Town Council, obtaining the signatures of Mayor Scott Slifka and council members. Mayor Slifka signed a proclamation declaring March 30, 2012, "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day" in West Hartford.
The SAIL students will also have the opportunity to carry the banner they created in the West Hartford Memorial Day parade on May 28.
"We Thank You: A Tribute to Vietnam Veterans"
Written by: Nasyve Beech, Nevaeh Rivera, Iris Madsen-Bibeau, Dominic Zaleski, Alejandra Villanueva, Alicia Nicholson-Gauvin, Zoreena Mohamed, Yazeed Almazraawy, Aaliyah Norton, and Justice Seymour
W: Whenever we think of freedom, we must remind ourselves it isn't free.
E: Every soldier deserves our admiration and respect.
T: Tribute and honor, our thanks are immeasurable.
H: Hopeful time has healed you.
A: Appreciative for your sacrifice protecting our country.
N: Never feel sad again, you deserve to be happy and proud.
K: Keep within your hearts how grateful we feel.
Y: You are brave, you are strong, you are heroes.
O: Our lives are better because of you.
U: United, we honor and thank you.