Students writing holiday letters to active military is a renewed holiday tradition at Gering Junior High School.
Teacher Shannon Kauffman teaches English, and her brother is on active duty in the United States Air Force. Staff Sgt. Justin Horn is currently deployed in Guam, along with Squadron 37 EBS, The seventh and eighth grade students are writing letters to Horn and his squadron.
“It was supposed to be near Veterans Day, but some things happened that changed that,” Kauffman said. “So they’ll arrive shortly before Christmas. I’m encouraging the students to give it a holiday sort of message. And then they’ll decorate them, be it red and green or whatever they want, for Christmas or whatever.”
Horn visited Kauffman’s students and their school close to Veterans Day for a special assembly. He brought an interesting opportunity to the students.
“They do this cool program where if you buy a flag, they’ll fly it in one of their bombers,” Kauffman said. “We got one for Gering Junior High. So he has a certificate saying that and then he’ll bring that back with the flag that they flew when he comes back in January.”
Kauffman explained why her students are writing letters, other than gratitude to heroes who protect freedom.
“We’re starting a unit on correspondence, letter writing,” she said. “So this is kind of their kick-off project with it so I can get a sense of where they’re at with it.”