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Creative Students Honor Veterans

Seventh grade students at Archer Lodge Middle School got creative in honoring the school’s teachers who served in the United States’ military. They created handmade and heartfelt  cards to convey a message of thanks for the teachers’ service which were delivered on November 8th and 9th.

Joey Wilson, 7th Social Studies teacher, was the inspiration for the project. When asked what was her motivation for leading the optional student project, she stated that she, herself, is a military brat, and after witnessing protests against veterans as a young girl, she felt “it was important to convey to the students that even if they disagree with war and conflicts, if our veterans had not served, and those in the military today were not serving, the students may not have the rights they have today that allow them to disagree.”

The students created cards for 7th grade Science teacher, Mr. Eugene Eckerson and 6th grade Social Studies teacher, Chris Willis at ALMS, 70 cards that were delivered by Mrs. Wilson to local nursing homes on November 10th, and they sent one to former ALMS principal, Ben Williams who is now principal at North Johnston High School.

Mr. Eckerson served during the Vietnam war in the Air Force as a Tech Sergeant from 1973-1975 and then again from 1982-2000 with stints in Honduras and Panama teaching pilots how to survive in hostile combat environments.  The surprise of the cards was “a very cool thing”, stated Mr. Eckerson. He is currently the commander of the American Legion Post 71 in Clayton, NC and said the story of his “Thank You Cards” from the students was well received at the Legion’s last meeting. This is Mr. Eckerson’s first year at ALMS after teaching for the past 10 years at South Campus.

Mr. Willis served from 1994-1998 between the Gulf War and 9/11 as a Marine E4 Corporal in the infantry stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.  He was an anti-tank assault man.  He spent time deployed in the Mediterranean and in Okinawa, Japan.  When asked what he thought of the surprise visits from the students bringing him cards, he said, “It was an awesome surprise, especially to see students I didn’t even teach last year bringing me Thank You cards.” This is Mr. Willis’ second year teaching and his second year at ALMS.

The students were very excited to create the cards and posters, many of them dropping by the media center to print off pictures of fighter jets, the American Flag and creating text for their cards in military style fonts. 7th grade student, Sal Fauci was excited to find pictures of jets, Susan Tolentino spent time looking for the perfect picture of the stars from the American Flag, and Christian Thompson said he  “felt happy to make the cards because we should all give back to those who have served”.


Ms. Wilson Mr. Willis Mr. Eckerson