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Students Give Back To Local Troops Serving In Iraq

Students at an east side Columbus charter school undertake at least one humanitarian project each year to give back to their community. This year the focus is on a local unit serving in Iraq.

Students at A+ Arts Academy decided they wanted to send some care packages to local troops serving in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Steven Morris, the husband of a math teacher at the school, is a popular visitor and the inspiration behind the students' idea. Morris serves in the Army's 412th Civil Affairs Battalion in Whitehall.

Eighth grader Aysia Welch is the school's SGA President, and described some of the items being sent to Companies A and B of the 412th.

Sixth grade SGA representative Danielle Scarbrough proposed the idea to her peers.

"I wanted to just give them care packages because I felt like they gave so much for us so I wanted to give back to them," Scarbrough said.

After collecting donations for a month, students gathered enough items for 42 soldiers. Scarbrough said the troops will receive the essentials, but they'll also get a few treats.

"They have candy and playing cards. But you know, yeah, there's some stuff that can keep them entertained for a little while," Scarbrough said.

In addition to magazines and other reading materials, troops will receive handmade cards from the students. Staff Sergeant Morris said this kind of thoughtfulness is a big morale booster for soldiers.

"It means a lot to soldiers once they receive packages from kids you don't even know, but showing their support," Morris said.

Sixth grader Timothy Sturkie hoped the care packages will brighten the soldiers' day.

"Hopefully they'll enjoy it because we're giving and I hope they like it all," Sturkie said.

Morris said the packages will be mailed out in a week or so.