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Students send words, pictures and wishes to strangers in war zones

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
May 28, 2011
— A photograph of a hand holding a monarch butterfly adorns a card that will soon be flying to an American service man or woman in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“I caught it in the rain,” Craig High School Senior Brittany Ball wrote in a card. “I knew it wasn’t going to survive, so I brought it home to make it better. I find it beautiful.”

Ball is one of a whole classroom of photography students who turned their photos into cards for troops.


This is the second time art teacher Dona Stegeman has assigned project this to a class. She was thrilled at the results last time so she assigned it again.


The cards thrilled her again.


“I thought they were really from their hearts,” Stegeman said.


“This is my last year in high school, and with graduation fast approaching, I have been thinking about the things that really matter in life, things like my freedom and safety that you are fighting for,” wrote senior Amanda Marklein. “It must take so much courage and trust in those you fight alongside of. I just wanted to say thank you.”

Marklein said the project was more meaningful to her than just producing a photo to hang on a wall. She was thinking about it one day when she saw a penny on the floor at school.


It was heads-up, a lucky sign, she said, so she picked it up and affixed it to the card she was preparing. “Lucky penny!” says a note that goes with it.


“It’s like a happy thought” for the soldier, she said.


“My uncle is serving in the military right now. I know how long and hard your days can get,” wrote sophomore Brandie Farrell. “This is why I would truly like to thank you. I hope you get home safe and sound, soon.”

The front of Farrell’s card features a photo of a baseball bat and glove resting on the grass.


Farrell said her family likes baseball, and she thought the image would remind the soldier of the all-American pastime.


Although she’s young, Farrell has an inkling of what soldiers in war zones go through. Her uncle served five tours in Iraq.


Craig sophomore Ali Waddell waxed poetic in her card:


“There’s something magical about our world, something special about knowing that at night, the moon and stars that I look at are the same moon and stars you’re looking at. Although we are oceans apart, the universe, something so mysterious and endless, brings us together. And although I don’t know who or where you are, I know for positive it’s a good thing. I hope this card brightens your day.”

Senior Ella Miller wrote this:


“You are truly a hero. I hope you know how much you are appreciated.”

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