High school students from the Gersh Academy in West Hempstead...

High school students from the Gersh Academy in West Hempstead will be sending holiday cards to U.S. troops this holiday season. Credit: Gersh Academy

Special needs students at the Gersh Academy in West Hempstead give back during the holidays as part of their winter festivities.

On Tuesday, Dec. 16, the high school students, along with some parents, will be creating custom-made holiday cards that will be mailed to U.S. soldiers, along with other winter-themed crafts such as making gingerbread houses.

"This is a great time of year to think about others, so I challenged my students to think of what they would like to do for others rather than thinking about what they wanted," said Valerie Monaco, a high school teacher at the Gersh Academy. "I showed them a video of wounded warriors who are in the Walter Reed Hospital recovering from injuries and suggested writing holiday cards to these service men and women. When they saw the wounded warriors, they reacted and asked questions. We spoke about how the wounded warriors might be feeling and how we could brighten their holiday season by thanking them and wishing them a bright and cheery holiday season."

During the winter festival, elementary school students will create New Year's goals and resolutions, make Cheerios trees, a hot dog wreath, apple pie crescent rolls and more. Middle school students with autism will make gingerbread houses with several parents, set goals for the new year and learn to prepare fruit salsa, Rice Krispies treats, tortilla snowflakes and more.

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