Huntington parent Theresa Ehrman launched the PTA’s Grateful Hearts initiative many years ago when her son was at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. Charlie Ehrman is now a freshman on a California college campus, but the letter writing campaign has continued without interruption at Huntington High School.
Described as an “inspiring and rewarding tradition” by PTA members, the program first introduced by Mrs. Ehrman has been embraced by the high school teenagers, who recently penned well over 100 cards of thanks to those serving in America’s armed forces.
The letter writing event is annually held near Valentine’s Day. Students create cards for military service men and women, thanking them for their commitment to keeping America safe.
“Students enjoy decorating patriotic cards, but also take time to write thoughtful letters of gratitude to the troops for their service,” parent Debbie Chin said. The cards are being mailed to troops on active duty in Kuwait.
PTA volunteers set-up a long row of six foot tables that spanned the length of the cafeteria. Blank cards, markers, pens, stickers, stamps, ribbons and inspirational quotes were available to students interested in creating the cards.
The teenagers enjoyed decorating and writing personal heartfelt messages to the troops for their service. The activity was offered free of charge to all students during the school’s lunch periods.
“Students said they enjoyed the activity and it gave them a sense of pride and gratitude,” Mrs. Chin said. “They all took pride in their artistic creations and well -written notes of thanks.”
One teenager noted that it’s important to “pay it forward.” Another student said that her uncle, who is in the military, was “overjoyed to receive letters and cards in the past from students.”
Principal Brenden Cusack even stopped by the cafeteria and created a card with a special message. “PTA volunteers were inspired by the enthusiasm that was expressed,” Mrs. Chin said.
More than 150 patriot-themed cards were created with personal sentiments attached to each. A handful of bookmarks were also packaged and shipped overseas.
PTA members said they hope to continue the program for many years to come.