Academy Students Create Holiday Cheer for Veterans
Posted January 9, 2019
This past holiday season, students at the Academy of Notre Dame Lower School took part in writing letters and making decorations for Veterans.
The outreach was organized by Marcia Cheong who is a member of the Parents’ Club, a parent organization for grades Pre-K-Grade 8. She says students from the Lower School have been writing to Veterans at the Bedford V.A. hospital for the past few years. Chris Dery, Veteran’s Agent at the Tyngsboro Office of Veterans Services, says he loves receiving the letters from the Academy and is happy to deliver them to residents at the V.A. hospital.
“Reading the letters is one of the most satisfying things I get to do,” explains Dery. “It’s not easy to describe the content in an emotion other than it is very moving. I found that while reading them I often have a mixed range of emotions because of the heartfelt sincerity and appreciative nature of the letters.”
The Academy consistently instills in the students the importance of Hallmark 4: We commit ourselves to community service. In previous years, the Academy students have also written letters to Santa to earn money for charities through a Macy’s fundraiser, as well as collecting hats, socks and mittens to donate to Lowell’s homeless shelter.
Dery says the letter writing program is important.
“I think it helps remind the students that a simple gesture of kindness, a letter saying thank you, makes a big difference in another person’s life. It also lets the Veterans know that they are not forgotten and that their sacrifice is appreciated.”
This year, fourth graders worked on letters for someone special. All their letters went Jim Boyd, the brother of fourth grade teacher Donna Acquaviva, a disabled Veteran that lives at the Bedford V.A. hospital. They also sent along decorations for the other Veterans on his wing.
"For many Veterans, this is a highlight to their holiday,” says Acquaviva. “They decorated their wheelchairs with the ornaments! So, from my perspective this is a wonderful way to honor these men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom."