It has been said that, in love, “the smallest distance is too great and the greatest distance can be bridged.” With Valentine spirit in the air, the students of Coastline ChristianAcademy in Santa Barbara, CA, are attempting to bridge the great distance between our service men and women serving overseas by sending messages of appreciation andencouragement here from home.
Each student from kindergarten through 8 th grade hand made unique Valentinecards filled to the brim with an array of hearts, glitter, ribbon, pop-up messages, sequins, livelydrawings and plenty of glue. Their art was accompanied by encouraging messages of appreciation and admiration. “Dear Soldier, thank you so much for serving our country. Youare doing a great job. My school and I are praying for you,” said Isaiah Smith, a 5 th grader. Cards from kindergartners read, “Thank you for keeping us safe,” and another simply, “Youare brave,” in typical 5-year old scrawl. “Thank you for defending our freedom,” said Jason Becker, an 8th grader. “Thank you for protecting us. You are my hero,” wrote sixth-grader Natalie Hawkins. “God loves you and I look up to you!” wrote 7 th grader Justin Blum. Most messages also contained uplifting Bible verses chosen by the students.
“We hope these cards brighten their day, wherever they are serving, and letthem know that we care and that we appreciate the freedoms we have because of theirsacrifices,” said Mary Osgood, Coastline Christian Academy principal.To assure that the recipient of each card knows that the entire school is supporting them, the students staged an elaborate photo shoot on the sports field. Standing in the shape of a giant heart outline, the students and teachers held up their handcrafted cards, while junior high students stood in the middle with brightly-colored posters reading “Hearts From Home” and “We Love Our Troops.” An “aerial” picture was taken of the giant heart, and made into stickers to attach to the envelope of each Valentine with the message “Thank You For Your Service.”
“We want them to feel that we’re thinking about them and we care about themand we’re thankful that they’re out there,” said 6 th-grader Micah Doctolero.Recognized as “that school that goes to school on Veterans Day,” Coastline has also garnered much attention for their patriotic Veterans Day Parade held each year. ”We feel that the students learn more about Veterans Day and the sacrifices made to protect this great county by being together on Veterans Day and honoring these service men and women with our parade,” said Principal Mary Osgood.
Coastline Christian Academy is an accredited member of WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and ACSI, the Association of Christian Schools International