Veteran’s Day is less than two weeks away. It is a day to remember the contributions of all those who have given their service to Americans and people throughout the world to ensure freedom from oppression.
For Mikayla Elgin, Veteran’s day should not simply be a one-day remembrance of the sacrifice of others.
Elgin has started campaign at Smithton Schools to help make every day a day of gratitude for American service members throughout the world.
RED Friday — Remember Everyone Deployed — is an idea Elgin has worked to promote at the school.
“One day my mom came home with a T-shirt on that said ‘RED,’” Elgin said. “I asked her what it was because I didn’t know anything about it or that it existed.
“She told me all about it and I thought then that I was going to get in on that,” Elgin added.
Elgin has a special reason to want to be a part of helping support veteran’s causes.
“My brother Tyler (Elgin) is in the Army,” Elgin said. “He was supposed to go to Afghanistan but his orders changed and he is in Texas now.
“A lot of his friends have been deployed and some of them have died over there,” Elgin added. “It’s important to let them go, but you have to keep hold of them and their memories, especially if they don’t make it back.
“My brother knows Army buddies who have passed away. Now they are watching over all of us.”
Elgin at first wanted the students in her sixth grade classes to help with the program but was encouraged by her teacher, Cindy Thompson, to consider including the entire district.
“I sent a letter to our superintendent asking him if he would have the school participate in something,” Elgin said. “He said he thought it was a very good idea, but I should take the lead in coming up with the ideas.
“We have a lot of different things planned,” Elgin added. “On Dec. 4, we are asking everyone to wear red to school to show their support.”
Elgin chose a date close to Christmas because she knew many troops stationed away from home might have the opportunity to return for the holidays.
“Sometimes (the troops) can come home and surprise their families which is really nice,” Elgin said. “But, if they can’t come home we are going to write letters in our classes to send to them; we want them to know that we are thinking of them every day.”
Elgin said her plan includes each class adopting a different military base to send their letters to.
“We just want to share with them that we do care about all of them and their safe return,” Elgin added.
For her efforts, Superintendent Dr. Matt Teeter recognized Elgin with the Excellence in Motion Award at the September Smithton Board of Education meeting.
“Last month Dr. Teeter recognized Mikayla for her work,” Smithton Middle School Principal Brandon Wallace said. “We are emphasizing service learning in the middle school this year but this is something that Mikayla has done all on her own.
“Her ideas have been very well received by the student body and we are all excited by what she is doing,” he added. “I really commend her for all her work and for going outside her comfort zone to help others; she really is a testament to her peers about what incredible things can happen with an idea and the willingness to see it through.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484