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IHS English students to roll out welcome mat for area veterans

Junior English students at Ironton High School learned first-hand about the sacrifices America's veterans have made. They all agree that it taught them more than any text book ever could.

To help them appreciate what America’s veterans went through, about 85 students in Joan Lux’s English classes interviewed veterans or their families about the horrors of war.

"The most important thing is to link the generations and educate the students on veterans and the sacrifices he or she made when they served in the wars," Lux said.

Nicole Heighton interviewed her grandmother about her great-aunt Hazel Cabrey who served as a nurse in World War II and Korea.

"I did not really know she had that much (of an) impact," she said. "She volunteered because she felt like she could really help people."

She said she and her grandmother both had fun digging up pictures and memories.

"You get to be in touch with it personally," she said. "It gives you more perspective to hear about their battles. It feels real."

The students' work will now be incorporated into an assembly to commemorate Veteran’s Day. Students will serve breakfast to veterans of all wars in the high school cafeteria

at 8 a.m. Monday. An assembly honoring America’s and Lawrence County’s veterans will follow from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the auditorium.

"This makes a big difference," Lux said. "It is a hands-on learning experience, an emotional experience for many veterans and for the students."

Judge Frank McCown and Butch Huff will speak and the ceremony will include students' accounts, poetry reading, a special performance of "Taps," and more.

All veterans interested in sharing their story or attending the breakfast or ceremony can call the high school at 532-3911 by 3 p.m. Friday.

"We really just want to honor the veterans," she said. "We want our students to know who they are and what they have done for our country."

Kayla Triplett interviewed Ted Riedel, a friend of her family, and said she learned more than she thought she would.

"I thought it was interesting but horrifying," Triplett said. "It kind of scares me. (The assembly) might help the rest of the students learn some of what we learned."

Another student, Linsey Hunt, interviewed her grandmother about a great uncle who was the first person from Lawrence County to be killed in Vietnam.

"I think it is better to get first-hand experiences with people and see their reactions on how they feel," she said. "It is nice that we can do this for veterans."

Principal Dean Nance said he has received numerous comments from students and parents that the project was one of the best learning experiences they have participated in.

"It is an educational experience as much as it is to honor the veterans," he said. "Many times we take our freedom for granted. This is a way for the students to have insight from people who have literally put their lives on the line, to hear their stories and show respect."