Mapleton Honor Bus

(From left to right) Mapleton Principal Skip Fulton, 6th grader Macy Kerr, Elaine Hess from Honor Bus, 7th grader Dalton Mahoney, and 7th grade teacher Cassie Swanson pose with the check delivered to Honor Bus.

NANKIN -- Mapleton Middle School students raised more than $1,500 last month for a local organization that sends veterans to Washington D.C.

The school typically celebrates Veterans Day with an in-person assembly, but when plans were altered this year due to the pandemic, the middle school's social studies department sought to honor veterans by partnering with the Honor Bus of Ashland County.

The charter, owned by Don Way of All-Ways Charter Bus, sends veterans to Washington D.C. twice a year, allowing them to view the memorials of some of the conflicts and wars in which they have served.

The social studies department set out to raise $255 -- the cost of sending one veteran on the trip -- but students contributed much more, according to Cassie Swanson, seventh grade social studies teacher at Mapleton Middle School.

"We were able to raise $1,530, which was enough for six veterans," she said.

She spent time in her classes talking to students about the Honor Bus trip. Ministry coordinator at Southview Grace Brethren Church, Elaine Hess shared a presentation, regarding the importance of the fundraiser with Mapleton teachers, who in turn relayed the information to the students.

Hess has organized Honor Bus trips for years.

According to Swanson, the social studies department collected money for a week. During that time, Swanson was overwhelmed by the students' generosity.

“I think a lot of students asked their families to donate in honor of veterans in their own family," Swanson said. "Students did not receive any incentive. It was all by donation."

Some students prompted their parents' businesses and employers to give, too. Kerr Trucking, Inc., Dine & Dash Mobile Kitchen, and Choice Plastic Machinery contributed to the total.

Students also wrote letters to the six chosen veterans as a way to honor them personally.

Because of the prodigious accomplishment, there is a desire to extend the fundraiser to include all of Mapleton Local Schools in 2021.

“Mapleton has a sense of community and family where everybody is stepping up and helping each other out," Swanson said. "Our students definitely embody that same ideal."

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