Veterans’ Voices are Heard in Hauppauge
Character building and compassion are hallmarks of the educational program in the Hauppauge Public Schools. On Monday, January 29th, 2018, students from the Forest Brook Veterans’ Voices club journeyed to the Arbors on Veterans Highway to personally deliver beautifully constructed biographical booklets individually crafted from the memories of residents who served our country in the military.
This exceptional emotional undertaking was the first project by the newly formed Veterans’ Voices club. The club was initiated by the Nurse at Forest Brook Elementary School, Deborah Wissmann, in conjunction with Forest Brook Principal Kristen Reingold.
When asked, Ms. Wissmann had this to say about the inception of the Veterans’ Voices, “The idea from the club came from a project my son did in 6th grade. They had to videotape an interview with someone who was a hero to them. My son chose my father. A few years later when my father passed away this became a cherished keepsake. In college he formed a club called Heard at Geneseo. They recorded the history of residents living in the town for decades.
These ideas, along with Principal Kristen Reingold’s dedication to honor Veterans became Veteran’s Voices. Over the course of 15 weeks 4th and 5th grade students interviewed and created keepsake chat books for veterans. Some students were able to stay with the same veteran for the entire time and some had to be flexible as veterans were sometimes not available for a variety of reasons.
Many Hauppauge High School students volunteered to help out. They sat with students and helped direct the interviews and manually record the sessions. Everyone learned so many things. Some of the veterans had never spoken about their experiences. In some cases, bonds have been forged that will go well beyond this program.
We hope to continue and expand the program next year. Students learned interviewing, writing skills, history and developed a greater appreciation of the sacrifices made by veterans. The impressions left will last a lifetime. The residents benefited by the companionship, stimulation and have something to share with their children, grandchildren and in some cases great grandchildren.”