St. Mary’s Students Study Military Sacrifice For Lent
By Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala // March 7, 2014
FIRST SPEAKER SET FOR MARCH 11
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — A soldier who lost his legs. A toddler who lost her father. A family who is living with a soldier trying to overcome demons in his mind. These are some of the everyday heroes St. Mary’s Catholic School students will be learning about this month as part of their annual Lenten project.
Forgiveness, empathy, love and prayer are all themes the school has covered. This year children will be learning about sacrifice and appreciation. Along the way they will be raising money to benefit the Wounded Warriors charity.
Lent is a time in the Catholic calendar that is set aside to prepare for Easter and the Resurrection of Christ, the cornerstone of the Catholic faith.
A common practice during Lent is to select something to give up for the 40 days of the season. It’s a symbol of sacrifice.
“When I thought about sacrifice, I immediately thought about our brave men and women who have for decades given up their lives to protect our freedoms, including our freedom of religion,” said Suzanne Strain, the second-grade teacher who organizes the community project each year.
“Their service is a contemporary example of sacrifice that our children can see. It seemed like a good project to do, especially in Florida, which is home to so many enlisted men and women. In fact several of our children have parents who are in the military.”
Students will spend four weeks learning about World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Desert Storm/Iraq War. Lessons have been designed to be age appropriate, Strain said.
But watching a video isn’t like hearing the story from someone who was there. So to bring the lesson home, veterans from all the conflicts studied will visit with students at the end of each week to share their personal story.
“There’s nothing more powerful than hearing about an experience from someone who was there,” said Principal Sandy Basinger.
“It’s one thing to read about something in history books or to see a video about it. But to have someone tell you first hand, that really makes an impact. This project is a good way of demonstrating sacrifice and helping our students learn values such as empathy, appreciation, and community.”
STUDENTS IN GRADES 1-8 WILL:
• Write thank you letters to veterans
• Write reflections about what they hear and learn
“There’s nothing more powerful than hearing about an experience from someone who was there,” — Sandy Basinger
• Watch videos about the wars
• Watch videos and discuss the kinds various therapies used to help veterans, such as dolphin therapy
• Discuss the Domino Theory
• Explore the mobile veteran’s memorial, which will visit the school
The project will culminate with a school-wide field trip to the Veteran’s Memorial Park on Merritt Island on April 11. Brevard County veterans will take small groups of students through the museum park in shifts and share their personal stories as they tour the grounds.
THE FIRST SPEAKER SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 11
St. Mary’s Catholic School opened its doors in 1958 in the heart of Rockledge, Fl. Since then, the faculty and staff have been providing a Christ-centered environment where children learn to be responsible, independent and enthusiastic life-long learners. The fully accredited school serves children in prek-3 through eighth grade.
It delivers the Orlando Dioceses curriculum to its students, which is rich in academics, the arts, music, athletics and provides an emphasis on the sciences as well as foreign languages starting in kindergarten.
The small size of the school provides a nurturing family environment that is steeped in the spirit of Mercy taught by the Catholic Church. St. Mary’s graduates not only enter the best high schools in the county, they become astute critical thinkers who will succeed in the 21st Century and beyond.
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