2010-02-04 / Top Stories

Students Thanked For Making Soldiers’ Holiday Season Brighter

Teacher’s brother stands next to one of his company’s helicopters.Teacher’s brother stands next to one of his company’s helicopters.Some students at Public School 244 were inspired to do something for one of the school’s fourth grade teachers when they learned she was saddened when her younger brother, Jason Williams, was deployed to Iraq not long after the start of the school year.

Upon hearing the news, Helen Mazartiegos, a kindergarten teacher, and her students were inspired to do something to help make the holiday season a little brighter for teacher Jennifer Hunsberger and Williams and the soldiers in his unit.

Symbol of soldier’s air assault unit. Symbol of soldier’s air assault unit. The kindergarten teacher and her class, along with others from the school’s staff, took up a collection of items requested by the troops. When it was over, their efforts amassed five large boxes packed with chewing gum, toothpaste, lip balm, toiletries, puzzle books and other items that were shipped to Iraq in November for arrival for the holiday season. The kindergarten students also crafted cheerful and endearing holiday cards, which were also sent with the hope that the soldiers wouldn’t feel too homesick.

This week the school received a pleasant surprise and expression of gratitude from members of Williams’ Bravo Company Jokers Air Assault Unit in the form of a drawn caricature, along with photos of the troops. The smiling troops thanked the local students for remembering them during the last holiday season.

It not only made the students but the staff feel satisfied, but it made them feel like they had a hand in making the holidays bearable for some of our troops overseas.

Caricature drawn by a GI hangs in P.S. 244 office surrounded by photos of soldiers in the unit deployed in Iraq. Caricature drawn by a GI hangs in P.S. 244 office surrounded by photos of soldiers in the unit deployed in Iraq. Staff developer Arlen Rabito told the Courier, “It is our heartfelt wish and sincere hope that all U.S. troops overseas return home safely soon. We will continue to support them as best as possible.”

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