CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley education students organized and ran a community service project that involved about 1,100 local elementary school students writing letters to veterans and active members of the military. The service project consisted of holding three assemblies for elementary students of McKinley Elementary in the Allentown School District and Peters Elementary in the Northern Lehigh School District on March 1. An assembly also was held at Liberty Bell Elementary in the Southern Lehigh School District on March 14.
"Doing this service project was an amazing experience. Seeing the students’ faces light up when the military members came in was the best part,” said Penn State Lehigh Valley student Shelby Wetzel. “They already know and understand that these men and women do so much for us and our country. We should continue to show our support as much as we can!"
The two assemblies at McKinley featured the Nittany Lion to energize the students and a special guest speaker, Senior Airman Jermaine Hussett, who spoke about his duties and the importance of being in the military.
The third assembly at Peters Elementary also featured the Nittany Lion as well as a special guest speaker, State Representative Zachary Mako from Walnutport, who was a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. Mako spoke to the students about his dual roles as a legislator and member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
After the assemblies, the Penn State Lehigh Valley education students presented five donated books for each of the school’s libraries. The college students then visited classrooms to help each of the elementary students write their letters to the active and veteran military members. When the students completed their letters, they were given patriotic pencils and Penn State Lehigh Valley stickers for participating.
The letter cards were created and donated by Ann Williams, former chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. The envelopes were donated by ULine of Allentown, and funds for the pencils and books were raised by the Penn State Lehigh Valley education students themselves.