Commander, Submarine Group Two

 New London Area School Children Create Holiday Cards for the White House

GROTON, Conn. – New London military children are designing holiday cards honoring their service member parent and sending them to the White House, Nov. 15.

The children are designing unique holiday cards in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s request to receive creative cards from military children from throughout the world.

“Submitting these holiday cards gives them an opportunity to have their work shown on a national level as well as validation that their work is on display at the White House,” said Karen Bryer, assistant principal, Charles Barnum Elementary School.

Bryer said that all of the students enrolled at Charles Barnum, all 396 of them, will be submitting holidays cards to the White House for the first time this year.

A first grader in Amy Nixon’s class summarized it best when describing the task at hand. “We are making pictures of our mommies and daddies for the president and Mrs. Obama to put on the Christmas tree,” said Amelia, one of 22 students enrolled in Nixon’s first grade class.

Sherry Hanks, third-grade teacher at Charles Barnum said her students were inspired to create holiday cards based on the Veterans Day tribute on Nov. 10 and their guest speaker, Capt. Bruce Derenski, commander, Submarine Group 2 representative at General Dynamics Electric Boat who explained how receiving letters from home helped him during his individual augmentee deployment.

“My students are each writing holiday cards to a military person; we all were inspired by Capt. Derenski’s speech and the kids could really relate to him,” said Hanks.

Hanks added that of the 26 students in her classroom, 24 have a parent serving in the military. “These cards will make someone feel good,” said Hanks.

Catherine Hanson, community coordinator, Charles Barnum added that it’s an honor for the New London-area based military to be recognized for their service.

“We’re honored to have their parents’ service recognized by the White House,” said Hanson.

Twenty percent of the children enrolled district wide has a parent currently serving in the military. At Charles Barnum Elementary School, over 90 percent of the children have a parent serving in the military.

In addition to Charles Barnum Elementary School, the Naval Submarine Base New London Youth Center is also collecting cards created by military children to send to the White House.