P.J. Jacobs students raise $4,000 for local veterans
By Joe Bachman and Taylor Hale
STEVENS POINT — P.J. Jacobs students have raised $4,000 for the honor flight program for local veterans, which was awarded to them on April 12.
Students from the junior high school hold a “Birthday Week” celebration every spring, which ends with a student council sponsored assembly on the last day. The assembly was held on Friday, April 12, due to inclement weather and early spring snowfall.
Members of AMVETS Post 1051 were in invited to attend the assembly, and students awarded the organization with $4,000 towards the annual Never Forgotten Honor Flight. The honor flight sends veterans to Washington D.C. in honor of their service, as well as give them a chance to visit war memorials.
At the assembly veteran Gerald Niedbalski spoke on his experience from a recent trip. Veteran Robert Szymkowiak also spoke to students about his involvement in the honor flight, as he continually welcomes veterans back from trips at Mosinee with their friends and families.
“People have told me kids just don’t want to work these days. What happened at that assembly would have blown that notion out of the water.” stated an AMVET member.
Assembly festivities included a badminton tournament, lip sync battle and other events.
Karla Landwer is a student council co-advisor with Alicia Skarsten at P.J. Jacobs Junior High and spoke on the event.
“We had a few incentives to raise money. Teachers volunteered to do various “torments” at different amounts of money raised. We had teachers willing to lip sync and dance at our school assembly, willing to shave their heads or cut their long hair, and play a game of Fill Your Guts or Spill Your guts, where they had to answer trivia questions or eat random foods. We hit all of our money raising goals and had tremendous support from students and staff.” said Landwer.
This is the third year that P.J. Jacobs students have participated in the honor flight program. Many students have seen the memorials first hand from their own trips to Washington D.C. , which makes the connection between students and veteran a meaningful one.
“Projects like this are important for young students because it allows them to see that they can be a part of something bigger and they can make a difference in the lives of others,” said Landwer. “Those others are often people in our community. Teenagers are more generous than most people would think. We had one student donate $500 and multiple students donated $100.”