Warren Township students create Valentines for veterans

David Beckam

In a district-wide initiative, K-8 students from all five district schools spent time during the week of Monday, Feb. 7, to create colorful, vibrant, and uplifting Valentine messages for veterans.

WMS students from Gina Banks and Cathryn Ticchio’s class pose with their Valentines for Veterans. Sitting Down (Left to right): Damaris Morales, Sara Ferreira Standing Left to Right: Haylie Tremper, Destiny Omeji, Dia Prabhakar, Jessica Su, London Zubar.

Earlier in the month, Marco Laguna, Constituent Services representative and military/veteran caseworker for Congressman Tom Malinowski contacted Warren Township Schools to ask if the district would be interested in participating in Valentines for Vets. In Laguna’s letter, he indicated that the valentines would be shared with veterans/service members who could really benefit from the kind gesture. 

Superintendent Dr. Matthew Mingle shared Laguna’s request with principals across the district and almost immediately the district’s teachers got to work on including the card project into their lesson plans.

WMS students from Lindsey Schreck and Brenda Sasso’s class proudly hold their finished valentines. Diya Unadkat, Emma Xu, Justin Smulski, Alan Senderecki, Reyhan Shah, Jack Lippman, Bennett Dealaman, Devan Rosa, Sana Shankar, Ariana Theofanidis, Saloni Mehra, and Isabella Shears.

By Friday, Feb. 11, the Board Office had collected hundreds of individualized cards. The students shared messages of thanks and love in their valentines. When Laguna picked up the valentines, it took three people to help carry the boxes to his car. Laguna was impressed with the outpouring of love from the district’s children. Laguna said the cards were to be delivered to the VA Lyons Hospital and shared with Operation Shoe Box. 

Lindsay Kenny’s second-grade class loved making Valentines for Vets. (Top) Chloe Aquino, Ana Sophia Martinez Rodriguez, Patrick Jackson, Jayden Chen, Armaan Shah, Joshua Cho, Reid Weinstein, Mario Armenti, Ayden Mistry, Middle: Andrew Yenish, Olivia Delory, MiaBella Rogers, Ronit Shankar, Amelia Aron, Jocelyne Tse, Liam Brothers. (Bottom) Cayden Molfetta.

Warren students are no strangers to sharing kind words with their local veterans. In November 2021, district children including grade four students from Matthew Gamage’s class created personalized cards for members of the Warren Township American Legion on Veterans Day.

Sandra Dodd, confidential secretary to the superintendent, helps Marco Laguna Constituent Caseworker and Military/Veteran Representative for Congressman Tom Malinowski load the valentines for delivery.

“Back in the fall, the fourth graders in my reading class at Woodland wrote letters of appreciation the week of Veterans Day, which were delivered to the American Legion Post 293 here in Warren. When I heard about the Valentines for Veterans” initiative, I was sure students would be excited to share some more love. Coincidentally, on the morning that I planned to introduce the idea to students, a gentleman from the American Legion stopped by the school. He delivered a letter of thanks to students and included a picture of a bulletin board they had created with Veterans Day letters from Warren students. The students were elated as they read the letter and excitedly dove into making valentines for the veterans. The energy and enthusiasm of students is a daily inspiration and it warms the heart to imagine the smiles their valentines will bring once again to veterans in the area.”


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