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Students at Plum school observe history, show gratitude

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.
Center Elementary School student Jenna Dupal works on her quilt for a soldier overseas. Students participated in a project for Constitution Day. Submitted photo
Students at Center Elementary School participate in a project for Constitution Day, an idea conceived by PTA parents. Submitted photo
Students at Center Elementary School participate in a project for Constitution Day, an idea conceived by PTA parents. Submitted photo
Students at Center Elementary School participate in a project for Constitution Day, an idea conceived by PTA parents. Submitted photo

Serving as a Girl Scout for the past several years, Alexis McClintock regularly volunteers in her community.

McClintock, 12, and other students at Center Elementary School in the Plum School District, recently worked on a project that both helped those in need and taught them a history lesson.

In honor of Constitution Day on Sept. 17, the students wrote messages of inspiration on squares made of blue jean material. The squares are sewn together into quilts. The Four Freedom Gratitude Quilts are sent to injured and sick troops overseas as part of Operation Quiet Comfort.

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Margi McClintock, Alexis McClintock's mother, said she found out about Operation Quiet Comfort when she was looking for a service project for her daughter's Girl Scout troop.

McClintock mentioned the project to Jeff Hadley, Center Elementary principal, who saw Operation Quiet Comfort as an appropriate history lesson.

Hadley said public schools across the country conduct history lessons on Constitution Day — formerly Citizenship Day.

“It was felt that kids were losing some understanding of history and how the Constitution came to be and how the country got started,” Hadley said.

Hadley said writing messages to the troops helps children make the connection between the fight for freedom more than 200 years ago and today.

“It's not just about reflecting on the past,” Hadley said. “It's about making the connection that we still stand for the principles and beliefs that are the foundation of our country.”

Margi McClintock said each quilt is made up of 96 squares. Center Elementary, with 400 students, made enough squares for four quilts.

Alexis McClintock, a sixth-grader, hopes the quilt will brighten an injured soldier's day.

“I wrote ‘We miss you, and God bless you,'” she said. “It felt really good to know that when they want to have some cheering up, they will have the quilts.”

Amber Delahunty, 12, appreciates the sacrifices the troops make.

“I think it's a good way to show how much we appreciate the troops and how they protect our country,” said Delahunty, also a sixth-grader. “I wrote, ‘You are a hero to us.'”

Alexis McClintock would like to hear from the soldier who receives the quilt.

“I would love to get a message and see what they say about the quilt and how well we did,” she said.

Hadley said the lesson was valuable because students got to send their personal messages to the injured soldiers.

“Most importantly, the students took the opportunity to say ‘Thank you,'” Hadley said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

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