NDA Meets VA for Holiday
TYNGSBORO -- Over the holiday season, students at the Academy of Notre Dame’s Lower School took part in writing letters and making decorations for veterans.
The outreach was organized by Marcia Cheong, a member of the Parents’ Club, a parent organization for grades prekindergarten through 8. Students from the Lower School have been writing to veterans at the Bedford V.A. hospital for several years.
Chris Dery, veterans agent at the Tyngsboro Office of Veterans Services, said he loves receiving the letters from the academy and is happy to deliver them to residents at the V.A. hospital.
“Reading the letters is one of the most satisfying things I get to do,” Dery said. “It is very moving. I found that while reading them, I often have a mixed range of emotions because of the heartfelt sincerity and appreciative nature of the letters.”
The academy consistently instills in the students the importance of community service. In previous years, students have also written letters to Santa Claus to earn money for charities through a Macy’s fundraiser, and have also collected hats, socks and mittens to donate to the Lowell Transitional Living Center.
Dery says the letter-writing program is important.
“I think it helps remind the students that a simple gesture of kindness, a letter saying thank you, makes a big difference in another person’s life. It also lets the veterans know that they are not forgotten and that their sacrifice is appreciated,” he said.
Fourth-graders worked on letters for someone special this year -- Jim Boyd, a disabled veteran who lives at the Bedford V.A. and is the brother of NDA fourth-grade teacher Donna Acquaviva. They also sent along decorations for the other veterans on his wing.
“For many veterans, this is a highlight to their holiday,” Acquaviva said. “They decorated their wheelchairs with the ornaments! So from my perspective, this is a wonderful way to honor these men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom.”