November 23, 2013


Letters of support

McGraw elementary students send soldiers holiday cheer

LettersJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
McGraw Elementary School second-grader Kobe Tetreault makes a snowman Christmas card for overseas servicemen and servicewomen Tuesday in Jennifer Morse’s class.

Staff Reporter

McGRAW — Every single student from McGraw Elementary School will help make a U.S. service member’s holiday season just a little merrier as they send 243 handmade cards to soldiers serving at home and abroad.
Students made their decorative cards in art class while tackling the task of writing out their actual messages in their regular classrooms.
Lisa McCool’s second-grade class had art Tuesday morning, during which time they crafted the snowman that would adorn the front of their cards and attached their handwritten letters using glue sticks.
The messages ranged from simple greetings from kindergartners to more extensive offerings from students in higher grade levels.
“I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas,” read one card written by Keira Luzum, a student in McCool’s class. “I hope you come back soon so you can see your family for Christmas. I would like to wish you a happy holiday,”
Part of the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign, the letters will be accepted by the Red Cross up until Dec. 6.
McGraw’s elementary art teacher, Jennifer Morse, said that this is the first year she decided to participate in the campaign.
With a brother and a husband who are both Army veterans, Morse said that when she received an email from Superintendent of Schools Mary Curcio outlining the program, she was immediately interested.
“I thought I’d really like to do it and I talked to my husband about it,” said Morse, who has taught art at McGraw for the past seven years.
“He said people would really appreciate it.”
“I just want them to have a good holiday,” said 7-year-old Heather Magee.
Students from McGraw are not the only ones spreading some cheer this holiday season.
In addition to McGraw Elementary School students, business and honor society students, other local entities have signed for some letter-writing as well. With Homer High School, SUNY Cortland and Cortland’s Friendship House all conducting signings and with a further two scheduled this weekend at Wal-Mart and Kmart, Cortland County looks to be in good shape to meet its goal of sending out 1,000 cards.
Even City Hall got in on the action, as Mayor Brian Tobin took 100 cards to distribute to city employees and officials.
“I can’t believe how many people responded,” said Michele Whalen, Cortland County’s Red Cross manager. “We have to remember a lot of our soldiers are overseas or in hospitals. We really have to thank the people who serve our country. We want them to know that we’re thinking of them.”
Those looking for more information about the Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign can visit or call 607-753-1182 for more information.
Those wishing to spread a little holiday cheer of their own can address their cards to P.O. Box 5456 in Capitol Heights, Md.


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