Reaching Out With Role Models


Kindergartners at Chestnut Street School teamed up with West Hempstead High School seniors Maria Graci and Antonina Kalyuski on Feb. 6 to create cheerful handmade greeting and gratitude cards for U.S. soldiers.

As part of their service learning project for student government, Maria and Antonina came to the elementary school equipped with craft supplies that they purchased with funds donated by members of the West Hempstead and Island Park communities. They described the project to their younger peers, distributed supplies and helped the kindergartners with their creations.

The students created cards in all styles and personalized them with an assortment of decorations and meaningful messages. Their innovative construction paper cards included illustrations, stickers, paper cutouts, thoughtful notes and more.

“We think the soldiers deserve more appreciation,” Antonina said. Both seniors have relatives or family friends who have served and chose this initiative as one with personal significance. Chestnut Street music teacher Karen Banach, whose son recently returned from serving in Afghanistan, oversaw the event and explained its importance to the kindergartners.