Serving the Veterans

AP Government goes outside the classroom for service learning


Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Watson

Students are setting up water for the Veteran’s Day Performance. They volunteered their time to give back.

Kaitlyn Willard, Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, November 11th, Advanced Placement Government and Politics traveled to Gretchen Reeder Elementary to help out with the annual Veteran’s Day celebration. Students helped set up decorations and serve cookies and coffee to veterans.

Government teacher Alyssa Watson proposed this opportunity to her students as it not only fulfills the graduation-required service learning tied into government class, but connects to the material her students learn throughout the AP government and politics course. 

“With it being Veteran’s Day, I thought it would be a perfect fit with AP government to get us out of class for a day to give back to the community,” Watson said. “I think going off of the mission of #BeKind, just to show that something as simple as helping an organization or helping a group of people can really make a difference in the long run. Even beyond that, it’s just nice to give back to the other schools and help out.”

At Reeder, students with veterans in their family were able to bring them to school to be honored. There, they put on a performance for their familial war-time heroes, followed by a reception with treats. Government students helped set up tables, decorations, including table tents and thank you cards for the performance and served treats for those in and at the performance.

“It’s fun to make everyone smile and be able to give them a good time,” senior Carleigh Shipley said. “It’s good to show them that we as younger kids know that they’re there and we know what they did and why they did it. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them fighting for our freedom and that we appreciate them.”

Contrary to Veteran’s Day activities done in years prior, AP Government got to physically volunteer their time. Before, students would usually make cards for veterans. This year, being the first that this opportunity was done, not only did students make cards, but they traveled outside of the classroom to show their appreciation for veterans.

“I’m involved with the PTO at Reeder and I have three kids that go there. I try to be as involved as possible, not only with my own kids but by getting Millard West kids back to the elementary schools,” Watson said. “But I just find that it’s good for not only the little kids that will eventually be Wildcats but also for the older kids to give back if it is their elementary school. The little kids look up to them so much.”

Many Millard West students are Reeder Alumni, as that is one of the feeder schools of Millard West. Not only did these students get to acquire service learning hours, but they got to visit their old stomping grounds to give back.

“It’s always good to give back to the community you grew up in,” senior Kaedyn Odermann said. “It’s great for what an individual person can do but when you do it as a class it’s a huge impact and the little kids love it when we go back there.”

While some students were able to return to Reeder, Watson was also able to watch her daughters perform for her father who served in the Vietnam War. Due to the lack of space in elementary schools, not all families were able to attend the program if their child is in it. Since Watson was volunteering with her students, she was able to watch her girls in the performance along with seeing her dad.

“My dad is going to be there so to be able to serve him in this way with my students serving all the vets, my dad being one of them,” Watson said. “It will be a neat experience for me to see my big kids and my little kids thanking veterans for what they’ve done and the service they gave to our country.”

Not only were veterans honored, but students also got the opportunity to give back to their community and pose as a role model to the future Wildcats at Reeder.