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Letter: Truly Educating

The lessons my daughter is learning at Rocky Run Middle School are life lessons that will help her so much more in life than any SOL studies or high school history text notes. Today was World War II Day at RRMS, something they have been doing for 14 years now. There were more than 80 veterans at the school today giving oral history lessons to the students. The students learned firsthand from eye witnesses what happened during and after the war. They were able to interview the veterans, hear their stories and see the memorabilia they brought. While learning about history they also learned such important life lessons about sacrifice for others, patriotism, standing up for what you believe in and supporting those in need. These traits are so important for our children, who are growing up in the “me generation” to learn about.

RRMS also took their students on a field trip to DC to welcome honor flights from Oklahoma to the WWII memorial. The students stood two different days in the pouring rain (some schools might have cancelled the trip) to thank and honor these veterans who gave so much for our freedom. They also connected with them on a personal level. My daughter now has a veteran buddy, Lloyd Hobbs from Oklahoma who sends her emails and letters and pictures of his time in the war all because she stood in the rain with a sign thanking him for his service. He writes her letters about his war experience, but more importantly how his education helped him during his military career and after. He reinforces the importance of why she is spending hours learning “all this hard stuff” now.

Putting WWII day together is an entire school activity headed by Mr. Sawatzky, chair of the History Department. I am constantly amazed at the dedication and commitment to the students at RRMS that I see. The countless, selfless hours that teachers and staff put in to do these extra activities for the students, to engage them in learning. This commitment comes from the top down starting with Mr. Terrell who encourages students to show him work with an “A” grade for a chance to win a prize in a weekly drawing. They can enter as many times as they get “A’s”. The history teacher’s quirky, funny videos they produce to help the students learn and remember history. (So much more interesting than copying the text book (text notes) which my high school student does in her honors history class.) Teachers are being given less and less freedom in how and what to teach in class, which in most schools means losing these types of activities. I just wanted to say “Thank you” to all the RRMS staff, teachers and administration who every day strive to make learning fun, cool and meaningful for our children.

Jodi LeBlanc, Clifton