Congressman Steven Israel visited students at Connolly School as a way to express his gratitude for their participation in Operation Caring Classroom.
The weeklong program, a National Education Initiative administered by the Armed Forces Foundation’s Families Serve Too Awareness Campaign in partnership with the NASCAR Foundation, partners a civilian school with a school that educates children of military personnel, encouraging them to write letters to families of the military. Connolly is the only civilian school in New York that participates in this program.
“I’m here because I’m really proud of you for caring about our military families and our veterans,” Congressman Israel said.
The “History of Military Aviation” is the theme for this year’s program, with teachers receiving workbooks and DVDs to guide instruction. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in a national essay contest and coloring contest.
“Every time I go to Iraq or Afghanistan, I ask the soldiers what I can do for them and they always say the same thing: make sure the people back home are caring for our families,” Congressman Israel said. “I’m going to Washington, D.C., and I’m going to tell my colleagues that Connolly School is doing exactly what our military families need and doing exactly what our soldiers want.”
Superintendent of Schools Maria Rianna told students she was proud of their work on this special project.
“The things that we do every single day are possible because our military has fought for those freedoms,” Rianna said. “These people have to leave their families to do this, so for you to reach out to them is a gift to me, to them and to the entire country.”
Fourth-grade teacher Erin O’Beirne is responsible for bringing Operation Caring Classroom to Connolly. She said it teaches students about the importance of Veterans Day and what it means to have a parent in the military.
“It really brings awareness to the children that they are all somehow connected to the military, whether it’s a parent, a sibling or a grandparent,” O’Beirne said. “Then they will go home and ask questions and make connections.”