Third-graders prepare Christmas package for Sgt. Cornett

STUDENTS IN Mrs. Streich’s third-grade classroom at Rogers City Elementary School have taken on a community service project. Students have adopted J.J. Cornett, a 2005 graduate of Rogers City High School currently stationed in Afghanistan with the United States Army. They have written letters and talked to him on the phone and just finished bringing in items to make care packages for him for Christmas. Above the students proudly display some of the items and their classroom Christmas tree. (Photo by Angie Asam)

by Angie Asam–Staff Writer

Sgt. Jeffrey Cornett, Jr. or “J.J.” is a 2005 graduate of Rogers City High School. Like so many young men from Rogers City he has made the choice to enter the military. Cornett is currently stationed in Afghanistan with the United States Army.

Paula Streich’s third-grade class at Rogers City Elementary School have adopted Cornett and are working hard to help brighten his holiday season.

J.J. is a personal friend of one of Streich’s students, Ella Williams, as their families are close friends. Ella and her mother approached Streich with the idea of helping Cornett have a good holiday.

“The students wrote letters to J.J. about a month and a half ago and sent them to him and we also made a book and sent it to him. One day when we were in math class the phone rang and it was JJ. He was just getting ready for bed and called the students. I put him on speakerphone and the students were able to ask him questions. They had many questions but to see them smiling from ear to ear was what it was all about,” said Streich.

Cornett plans to write back to the students and continue surprising them with phone calls. Cornett had no knowledge that the class had adopted him and was overjoyed to read their letters.

The students haven’t stopped at making him a pen pal; they have been bringing in items to send him care packages for the holidays. They are eager to bring things in or write him letters, which are being sent by Ella’s mom who is covering the postage and shipping of the items for the class.

“The students have really responded positively. They think it is really cool. We have a photo of him in the room with his Huron football jersey on. They are always reminded that he is one of them, a Huron.

The project is also creating good connections for the students who are valuing current military and veterans much more. They are relating J.J. and other people they know who have served in the military,” said Streich.

In addition to the fun of having a local hero to talk to, brighten the day of and enjoy getting to know the students are learning valuable life lessons as they learn to write letters and value the military that keeps them safe and allows them freedom.

J.J. is hoping to come meet the students who are working hard to continue to brighten his time in Afghanistan; however, he likely won’t return to Rogers City until they are fourth-graders.

Streich said he still intends to come meet the students who have brightened his day and that he has enjoyed talking to.

Cornett has no idea that Christmas care packages and gifts are on their way to him, but they will no doubt help make spending the holiday’s overseas a little easier. Students have been bringing in packaged food, hygiene products, puzzle books and many other things.

They realize Cornett may share with some of his friends, but realize that they can brighten the days of other