Augusta Ind. elementary students help state veterans agency with state fair plan to recognizes 2,000 Kentuckians who died in World War I

Ledger-Independent, Maysville, April 25, 2017

AIS students honor WWI veterans with poppies

by CHRISTY HOWELL-HOOTS

AUGUSTA -- Students at Augusta Independent School are creating poppies to help honor World War I veterans in Frankfort.

AIS Principal Robin Kelsch said a letter was sent to the school from Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Commissioner Heather French Henry asking if students would participate in efforts to recognize the more than 2,000 Kentuckians who died in World War I.

According to Henry, the first use of the poppies will be at the Kentucky State Fair in August. The poppies will be placed on a World War I poppy wall.

"Fairgoers will have a chance to make a poppy to add to the existing poppies with hopes that at the end of our commemoration in the summer of 2019, we will have enough poppies to line the steps of the state capital in Frankfort," Henry said.

Kelsch said AIS was more than happy to participate in the project, because it is for such a good cause.

"I'm glad to have Augusta Independent School involved in this," Kelsch said. "It's something we're all about.

Third grade students Spencer Plummer and Lane Harding said they enjoyed making the poppies. Their class had already finished the poppies for the wall.

"It was fun," Plummer said. "I'd like to do it again in the future."

Harding said the class made 21 poppies.

"We each made one and there are 21 kids in the class," he said. "We're going to put them on a wall and make a path at the capital."

Fourth grade student Mallory Jett said her class is currently working to complete the poppies.

"I like it," she said. "It's fun and it's important. I was glad to do it, because I have a lot of family who are veterans."

Jett said her class will make a total of 28 poppies.

Fifth grade student Elijah Johnson said his class will begin making poppies next week.

Johnson said he spent time studying the reason behind the poppies before the classes began to make them.

"We read the poem, "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, about the poppies and their importance," he said. "Our classes are making the poppies because of that poem. We're going to use them to fill a yard in Frankfort as a way to honor the veterans. I'm looking forward to it."

Johnson said his class will make 21 poppies.

Kelsch said the students have a deadline of May 1 to complete the poppies. At that time, he will schedule a day for someone to come and pick up the poppies.

"I'm proud of these students and how hard they've worked," he said. "All of the students made the poppies themselves and they understand how important it is to honor our veterans."

Maria Hitt, a third grade teacher at AIS, said it took her students a total of an hour to create 21 poppies.

"We watched a video about the oldest living World War I veteran, who is gone now," she said. "They know there are no living World War I veterans now. So, they cared about this project. They wanted to make sure they did the poppies right because they understood it was honoring the memory of something important."

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