Dec 192013
Stockings for the troops and veterans made with love at Amity Middle School, Orange.

Stockings for the troops and veterans made with love at Amity Middle School, Orange.

Amity Middle School students are feeling the holiday spirit and sharing it with others in a very special way.

Several years ago, 7th grade science teacher Janine Arents read an article about a group of people who collected items an filled stockings for soldiers overseas, which inspired her to also do something for the troops and those who are Hospitalized in the U.S.

“For the past few years we have teamed up with Lisa Siedlarz and the community group SoHuNewHaven.org to collect items for stockings,” Arents said. “In past years we have sent stockings overseas, to stateside medical centers, and this year we linked up with the VA in West Haven.  Last year there were more than 100 stockings sent to a rehabilitation facility on the east coast.”

This year, students from last year expressed an interest to their eighth grade teachers to participate in the Stocking Drive.  So for the 2013 drive the ENTIRE school is participating!

“We have collected just over 100 items so far.  Last year we collected over 500 items that went towards stuffing more than 100 stockings,” she said. “The kids really get into the collecting, organizing, and writing.”

The writing that she speaks of is pretty special.  For Veteran’s day (their kick off for the drive) the kids on Team X wrote acrostic poems that are placed on flags and are hung on the wall.  The poems are seen by the veterans that come in to talk to the Middle School students about their experiences in the service.

The students also draw pictures and write short notes to be included with each stocking.  Some years they receive responses, other years they don’t.  No matter which happens the students really have a great time participating in this event, according to Arents.

The character development program at the middle school focuses on Jackie Robinson’s nine character traits; Citizenship, Commitment, Determination, Justice, Persistence, Excellence, Integrity, Courage, and Teamwork.

“The Stockings for Soldiers drive really helps the students develop and work with these traits,” Arents said. “In fact a number of their poems, letters, and pictures also highlight ‘Jackie’s 9.’”

The students at the Amity Middle School in Orange collected more than 1000 items.  They stuffed more than 40 stockings to help make the holidays merry for our deserving soldiers and veterans.

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