Woodrow Wilson Junior High students send soldiers holiday cards

Woodrow Wilson Junior High students created this poster using notes they wrote to thank soldiers for their service to the country.

Operation Gratitude was in full gear this past month as the students of Woodrow Wilson Junior High in Dayton learned about the character trait “gratitude” with two major projects.

In this particular project, students wrote holiday cards to express their thanks and gratitude to the heroes in the military serving our country. The 24 men in the Mortar Platoon will not come home for the holidays. Students wanted the soldiers to know that Woodrow Wilson Junior High is supporting them during this time.

“We actually had two different projects before Thanksgiving, and was scheduled during our ‘Pony Time’.  One project included writing letters to our troops. This was put together by WWJH’s Instructional Math Coach Stacy Vernon (whose son-in-law is a soldier), 8th Grade Assistant Principal Mechelle Perkins and the WWJH counselors Jennifer McCrackin, Vanessa Sanchez and Trudie Dewey,” WWJH Principal Matt Barnett said. “Every student at WWJH participated in either this project or the other gratitude project. It was an amazing exercise for our students and staff.”

Woodrow Wilson Junior High’s math Instructional coach Stacy Vernon’s son-in-law (Ethan Mullis) is one of the men in the Mortar Platoon.

The students wrote as many kind and personal notes as they could with the time allotted. Cards had personal notes from the students such as:

Dear Hero,

Thank you for being brave. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this holiday season.

Sending joy,

Sara from Dayton

Dear American Soldier,

I appreciate all that you are doing. We are thinking of you back home. Thank you for being bravery.


Mark from Dayton Texas     

“The second project that the WWJH students could choose to participate in was an appreciation task to all of our law enforcement agencies and was organized by district’s Emotional Support Counselor Lindsay Ruschel,” said Principal Barnett.  

Approximately 150 students participated in making three posters for local law enforcement (Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Dayton Police Department, Campus Officers).  Sheriff Bobby Rader accepted the poster on behalf of the Liberty County Sheriff’s office.

“The poster would be hung with pride for all of the Sheriff Department staff to read,” Rader said.

He also mentioned that he was looking forward to an upcoming event called Pizza With the Police, which will be held on Dec. 19 hosted by Dayton ISD’s Child Nutrition Department. A receptionist from Dayton Police Department received the poster on behalf of DPD, while Sergeant Kevin Wilson from Harris County Precinct 3 received a poster showing appreciation for the WWJH campus police.

“I believe Operation Gratitude was a huge success,” Principal Barnett stated. “We are teaching our students ‘The Woodrow Way’ through a positive behavior program and character education, such as our Operation Gratitude with random acts of kindness. I believe it was Henri Frederic Amiel that once said, ‘Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.’ We continually want our students to learn to do those little acts of kindness that can have a big impact upon others’ lives. I am proud of our students and our staff!”

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