China Grove fourth-graders have lunch with veterans

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

CHINA GROVE — Students in the fourth grade at China Grove Elementary joined local veterans for lunch on Monday.

China Grove hosts a veterans’ luncheon every year, but this year the school decided to incorporate a project-based learning opportunity.

Media Specialist Beverly Litke and English as a Second Language Teacher Beth Houck challenged the China Grove students to conduct research about Veterans Day. The fourth graders accepted the challenge. Some questions the students had to answer were what the difference was between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, how is Veterans Day celebrated in other countries and why was it previously called Armistice Day.

The students had to write papers about their research questions, and then two students from each class were chosen by their teachers to attend the luncheon.

“They learned some good researching skills and learned to take notes,” Houck said.

The students also made posters for the veterans and hung them up in the hallway of the school.

Debbie Suggs Catering provided the food for the event. Suggs donates her time and cooking every year in honor of her father who served in the U.S. Army.

Principal Lea Anne Thomas said the project was a great way for students to get involved in doing research to present a final product.

“They worked very hard and we’re very proud of them,” Thomas said.

The students ate and talked with the veterans. Some of the veterans talked to the students about school and other activities they were involved in.

After the lunch, Houck read some of the students’ essays aloud to the veterans. Houck did not have all of the students’ papers, so some students stood up and talked a little bit about what they wrote. The students received medallions for their work.

Cristal Garduno, a student chosen to attend the lunch, said she wrote about the differences between Veterans Day and Memorial Day for her paper.

“I found out that they were different and that they celebrate how soldiers fought in the war and the people that died and that they decorated their graves with flags and flowers,” she said.

Justin Morris, another student, said he researched about the significance of Veterans Day’s date and the poppies individuals and families put on soldiers’ graves.

“I researched that Veterans Day was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” Morris said.

The veterans received cards put together by the lower grade students, and the veterans were allowed to take the posters the fourth graders made.

“I can see that they’re already learning about Veterans Day and the different holidays, the importance of recognizing,” Kellis White, a Marine Corps veteran, said.

Robert Houck, a Navy veteran, said he wanted to pass down his love for his country to the younger generation.

“It means passing on to these young people, I hope, something of the love that I grew up with in this country,” Houck said.

Beth Houck told the veterans that the China Grove family appreciated their service.

“We wanted you to know that China Grove Elementary students appreciate you, the administrative staff appreciates you,” Houck said.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.