Physical Education Teacher and Girls Golf Coach Mrs. Roni Shoemaker has been having students write letters to soldiers overseas for 11 years.
It first started when she taught phys ed at an elementary school, where as many as 650 students wrote letters for her to send.
“I taught all the students, so I was sure to get a letter from every student in the school,” she said. She continued the project when she moved to the middle school and back to elementary again. Now at Socastee, she said she gets between 100 and 200 letters.
She said receiving the letters is meant to give the troops a boost when they’re missing home, and it teaches students how little things can mean so much.
“[The students are] reaching so many people that truly need it,” Mrs. Shoemaker said. “People need to know they are thought of when they are serving us.”
Mrs. Shoemaker started the program when she taught at a school in North Carolina that was a half hour away from Fort Bragg, a major Army base.
“We always had a few parents that served, and the students were familiar to seeing service members or knew someone in the service,” she said.
She said the project is also important to her on a personal level.
“I have had several family members and friends serve,” she said. “I have had a few friends die while overseas.”
It makes her happy “to know that somewhere I have made someone smile.”
On a more practical level, she said the project is a way of incorporating a meaningful writing lesson into phys ed.
“You don’t really hear bring your pencil to PE class,” she said.