House Creek students learn to say goodbye to military classmates
By WENDY SLEDD
Special to the Leader-Press
December is the Season of Giving. But it is also the Season of Leaving for military families relocating in between semesters. House Creek Elementary’s student population is comprised of more than 65 percent military students, the highest military student population in Copperas Cove ISD.
Second graders in teacher Adrian White’s class learned to say goodbye to a classmate moving to Korea.
“We were having a hard time verbally saying goodbye and giving her well wishes,” White said. “Our class practiced writing her letters and cards instead. This helped us explore a different way to keep in touch with friends.”
School counselor Amy Simpson said that due to the amount of time students spend with each other, they truly do become like family.
“Many of our teachers refer to their classes as family, so students learn to love and appreciate each other throughout the year,” Simpson said. “When a student has to move away, it creates a situation where something just ‘feels missing’ for a while after they leave. Many tears are shed amongst classmates when a student has to leave and say goodbye.”
In military communities, students who are not moving feel the effects when friends move away. Children whose friends move away experience the same grief and need the same care and attention they would need if they were moving.
“I loved caring how much they care for their classmate, but it was difficult seeing my students with heartache as they realized they won’t be seeing their friend for a very long time,” White said. “Before completing the cards, there were lots of tears. I was surprised at the strong emotions and care the students demonstrated for their friend who was leaving.”
White agreed that saying goodbye is very important, both for students who move away and those remaining. So, she turned the opportunity into a writing assignment for students.
“The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills this lesson met was ensuring that students could create complete sentences using who and what to write in their classmate’s goodbye letter or card,” White said. “This lesson tied back to our writing curriculum as we have been practicing writing complete and robust sentences to express ourselves. Additionally, to help my students send their peers off and feel emotional closure, this was necessary.”
Simpson said helping children understand the value of friendships both old and new builds strength and security as they grow into adults. When children discover the sustaining power of friendship in spite of time and distance, they will treasure longtime friends and be more open to new ones.
“When I wrote the letter, I thought about her being happy to hear from me again,” student Miyah Jackson said. “We are all friends."