Liberty Middle School students honored veterans Nov. 10 with personal interviews plus a research paper on their branch of service and the military conflict they served in. Quilts of Valor were also presented to two veterans at a special ceremony.

Liberty Middle School students honored veterans in a special way with a unique project that taught them about a veteran, the conflict they served in and the history of their particular branch of service.

Eighth grade students were required to contact a veteran, either one from their own family or a friend or from a health care facility in Pratt, said Sabre Dixon, eighth grade English teacher that spearheaded the project.

Students interviewed the veteran to find out what they did in the service. Then they had to research where the veteran was deployed and gather information about the conflict. Students also had to research the history of their veteran's particular branch of the service. The assignment required students to write a research paper on their information.

Once the students had this information, they had to create three fold displays featuring photos and information about the veteran, the conflict and the branch of service, Dixon said.

Students started researching their projects at the start of the school year and spent the last six weeks working on hard to get the information gathered, getting the displays put together and getting them on display in the LMS Library. Students have to come up with their own questions for the veterans. Meeting the soldiers one-on-one helped the students learn what it was like to be in the military, Dixon said.

The layout of the display boards was up to the students. They all had the same basic three fold cardboard to start with but the layout and design was up to the students. They were encouraged to get creative and make it look as good as they could. The last part of the assignment is for students to write thank you cards to the veterans for sharing their stories.

The culmination of the event was Nov. 10 when students invited the veterans to attend a showing of the displays, having a meal with the veterans and then taking part in a Quilts of Valor presentation for two of the veterans. Quilts were presented to Bridget Combs and Christa Wilson.

The Builders Club made the quilts with Sherry Norman, GATE instruction, overseeing the project.

Eighth grader Noah Davidson chose his uncle Army Reserve Capt. Kyle Morgan for his project. Morgan served in Afghanistan in 2011-2012 as an infantry platoon leader and was in charge of heavy weapons such as 50 caliber tow missiles that are grenade launchers. Morgan has been in the military for 11 years and is currently stationed in Tulsa, Okla. with the 486th Civil Affairs Battalion.

Morgan's base in Afghanistan was the third most remote in the country and everything had to be airlifted in. Morgan said he was honored his nephew would choose him and was glad to find out the school had this type of project.

Davidson said he was surprised to learn his uncle was a captain and that he had served in Afghanistan. he also learned the war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history.

Eighth grader Sierra Dunlap chose her father, retired Army Sgt. John Dunlap for her project. Dunlap's service included Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. His duty was to guard the Pershing missiles.

Sierra said she looked up to her dad and was proud that he did his service for everyone else. She understood a little more how hard it was for him to sacrifice his time.

For Addie Hoeme, her choice was her great-grandfather Anfred Smith who was a Seaman Second Class at the end of World War II and served from 1944-1946 in the Navy. Smith served in Shanghi and was on his way to Hawaii to prepare for the invasion of Japan when the war ended. He served on the USS McCaffery, a Gearing-class destroyer.

Hoeme said she was impressed that the people in the military were trying to honor their country. She learned a lot about the Navy and World War II.

The Quilts of Valor ceremony honored veterans, retired Army Master Sgt. Bridget Combs who served in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo and retired Sr. Airman Christa Wilson who served in Desert Storm. Quilts of Valor are a formal expression of appreciation from a grateful nation. They are given to comfort and heal those touched by war. The presentation quilts were built by Builder's Club.

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