John S. Burke Catholic High School students pen letters to veterans

Goshen. The letters were distributed during the May 11 Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.


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  • John S. Burke Catholic High School students pose with their handmade cards for veterans (Photo provided)




  • Handwritten birthday cards from John S. Burke Catholic High School psychology students mailed to Newburgh World War II veteran Emil Valentine to celebrate his 100th birthday on April 22 (Photo provided)



“I wrote these letters to express my gratitude and deep emotion to the heroes of the world who sacrificed themselves in the war. Their devotion, courage and valor pulled at my heartstrings genuinely and I hoped that my sincere words in this letter show to valiant veterans how much they mean to us and how they touched us in a special way."
Boyoon Han


Students enrolled in John S. Burke Catholic High School’s 10th- and 11th-grade English classes wrote letters to veterans of World War II and the Korean and Cold Wars. The handmade cards were distributed during “mail call” during the Hudson Valley Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 11.

Departing from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, the May 11 flight took veterans on an all-expense paid trip to visit U.S. war memorials. Veterans traveled by a police-escorted bus convoy while in the nation’s capital for the daylong trip, and returned to Westchester that evening.

The Burke Catholic students’ teachers, Mrs. Ross and Mrs. Riveccio, along with Mrs. Kathleen Kish, the school nurse, selected a handful of letters that were the most powerful and compassionate to be sent to the veterans.

“It was an incredible sacrifice, what these veterans did for me and everyone in this country so we can have freedom,” said Christopher Shust, a junior at Burke Catholic whose letter was among those chosen. “This was just a small way to show my appreciation.”

“I wrote these letters to express my gratitude and deep emotion to the heroes of the world who sacrificed themselves in the war,” said Boyoon Han, an international student from Korea who’s studying at Burke Catholic. "Their devotion, courage and valor pulled at my heartstrings genuinely and I hoped that my sincere words in this letter show to valiant veterans how much they mean to us and how they touched us in a special way."

This is the second time students have participated in community outreach to local veterans. Earlier this spring, the students sent cards to World War II veteran Emil Valentine, of Newburgh, for his 100th birthday. After seeing a call out in a local newspaper, students in Mrs. Nemeth’s psychology classes developed and sent cards to the veteran to celebrate his milestone birthday on April 22. In total, 24 cards were sent to Valentine as part of Burke Catholic’s Random Acts of Kindness initiative.





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