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Staples Gets Visit by Local Vets

U.S. military forces infiltrated Samuel L. Staples Elementary School on Nov. 11, on a mission to discuss the importance of Veterans Day to more than 700 students.

Throughout the day, students were introduced to the various branches of service by their teachers. Each teacher studied a specific military branch to discuss with their students. When the day was finished, each child had been exposed to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

One child organized an online chat using Skype to talk with her grandfather through a live feed. Everyone had an opportunity to ask a variety of questions, while the Marine Corps captain talked plainly in his full combat uniform.

"It's a wonderful learning experience for the children," said Cheryl Mammen, assistant principal. "I hope that the kids come away with an appreciation for the sacrifice that [veterans] make. To me it's amazing that someone would risk their life for our country."

In addition to learning about veterans and their service, students created artwork using cutouts shaped like their hands. Each branch of the military was written on a finger, and the students were asked to write a statement of thanks to the soldiers. The hands were then cut out and taped to the cafeteria door.

Each class also made a lap blanket to be donated to the VA Hospital in New Haven, according to Principal Kimberly Fox Santora. Students also learned about military basic training during their physical education classes, and studied military songs in music class.

The military retreated from school grounds at 1 p.m., giving the school back to the civilian leadership.

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