Five Park fourth-graders were recognized by members of American Legion Post 245 in Cross Plains last week -- and received a nice surprise to end the week.
Ian Johnson, Sawyer FitzRandolph, Ben Shultz, Koeplin Look, and Elijah Schluter received a special certificate of appreciation, video, book and a pamphlet during a ceremony on Thursday, March 16. The next day, Ed Pulowski stopped at Park and presented the boys with a check for $137 to help with a fundraising effort.
Park principal Monica Schommer said Johnson was interested in the military and stumbled upon a Veteran's Affairs website during some of his online searches. He asked four friends to help him and they approached their teacher, Lucas Kramer, about raising money for Veteran's Affairs. The boys met with Schommer to develop guidelines and develop ideas.
In November the boys had one week in order to reach their goal of $500. They did a presentation to each classroom about what they were doing, why they were doing it, and where the money would go. The boys collected money at the Park Book Fair and visited each classroom each day to collect donations. They raised $364.17, Schommer said.
Schommer said Jr. Sgt. Norm Esser connected the school with members of American Legion Post 245 so they could present a check. Before Thursday night, Esser, American Legion District Camp Chairman Joe Hodgson, and Sgt. First Class Don Grundy came to Park to receive the funds and talk with all fourth-grade students about the military and the service they provided.
Esser was so touched by the boys' efforts, he shared what they did with others in American Legion Post 245. The boys and their parents were invited for dinner and a special recognition ceremony.
Pulowski said Legion members unanimously voted to donate the $137 to help the boys reach their $500 goal. The only stipulation is the boys help decide what to do with the money, Schommer said.
"From one idea came so much learning about a topic each of the boys was passionate about,'' she said. "They researched, they presented, they raised money, they spoke in public, and were recognized in many ways for their efforts. I know it's a lesson they will carry with them for life.''