ITHACA (WJRT) (05/23/19) - It's not your typical school project. A group of students used what they learned in class to present a special gift this Memorial Day.
Although Memorial Day is typically marked with concerts and cookouts, North Ithaca Elementary went in another direction. The plan was to interview veterans and draft a book, and Ms. Yoder's fifth grade class had a huge had in bringing that vision to life.
In November, her class attended the Veterans Day Ceremony, and discovered their own connections with them. They dug into those stories by interviewing seven veterans known to students.
"The veterans have never been able to share their story, and they finally get to share it with the public," fifth grader, Tanner Lamey said.
Veteran, Ken Davis says back when he returned from serving, veterans would not discuss their own experiences. Now, this book gives them a safe platform to give the public a window of insight.
"I'm impressed with the questions that they asked. Questions that I wouldn't have even thought about asking, but they come up with the good ones," Davis said.
After the thorough interviews, the entire class contributed to a book that is called, "Our Veterans."
"They risked their lives for us. They're out fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam for us," fifth grader Riley Guild said.
The Gratiot County Foundation awarded a grant to purchase multiple copies of the book. The class wanted to present the complete story and provided each of the vets with their very own copy.
"I have to tell you it gives me goosebumps on my arms makes my hair on my arms rise because it gives me the chills. It's hard to explain the gratitude that I feel because it's been fifty years since I served over there," Davis said.
After the presentation, Ms. Yoder couldn't help but feel proud of her students and saw this as a win for education in today's world.
"This is more the real-life application. They see that what they've learned in the books really works out in the real world," Yoder said.
Ms. Yoder was given a class set of the book, and it will also be featured in Ithaca's public libraries.