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Unionville Elementary students create letters of support for overseas military personnel

All grade levels at Unionville Elementary School crafted messages of hope and thankfulness to the men and women serving in the Navy as part of a school assignment.
All grade levels crafted messages of hope and thankfulness to the men and women serving in the Navy as part of a school assignment.
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 7:15 AM EDT
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UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Students at one Union County school banded together to say thank you to military members serving overseas.

All grade levels at Unionville Elementary School crafted messages of hope and thankfulness to the men and women serving in the Navy as part of a school assignment.

Unionville Elementary puts a focus on charity and international learning. They’ve sent packages to areas affected by disaster, foreign exchange, etc. This new assignment all started with the school’s music teacher and the school’s effort to also show support for him.

Unionville Elementary students sing hello to different parts of the world. Music teacher William Harris, who is also a 15-year Air Force veteran, is teaching his students the importance of taking social studies a step further.

“Our military men and women are serving all over the world. So, no matter where they are, they’re in harm’s way,” Harris said. “I deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-12, and leaving my kids at home and my wife, and getting a letter, a handwritten letter, usually a picture drawn from my kids meant everything to me.”

That’s why Harris has helped the school coordinate an international assignment of encouragement. Students in all grades wrote, drew and crafted letters to be sent to the Navy crew aboard the USS Porter.

“I just said thank you for everything you did for us and to just be safe,” student Jace Thomas said.

There’s also a special connection these letters have to the beloved music teacher. The letters were sent to the ship Harris’ son, Benjamin Harris, currently serves on.

“It’s wonderful. I know as a newlywed being separated from his wife and also being away from all of his brothers and family, when he got those letters and made that video, he was very happy,” Harris said.

If a simple picture speaks a thousand words, these cards – straight from the heart – speak volumes.

“It makes me feel happy that I made the letter,” Thomas said.

Harris said music and the military are the fabric of their family. He plays several instruments and loves teaching it.

His son who’s serving plays the guitar, bringing things full circle. The elder Harris, while serving in the Air Force, had a band with some members of his group who played where they toured as a way to boost morale.

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