Matt Sayward and Jake reynolds, currently serving in Afghanistan, Skype with Linda Jacques' pre-kindergarten class earlier this year.
Students in Linda Jacques’s Pre-Kindergarten class at Willsboro Central School welcomed two visitors to their classroom near the end of the school year.
The pair of visitors were unable to be physically in the classroom but had the chance to talk with students thanks to modern technology from half a world away.
The visitors were Jake Reynolds and Matt Sayward, who are currently stationed with the military in Afghanistan.
“We had this conversation planned a couple of times, and they did not work out,” Jacques said. “We did not think that we were ever going to get the chance to make it happen because of the time difference and the work schedules for the boys, but when it did, it was so cute. They showed the kids their work area and what they had to wear and answered all of their questions.”
“If there was any grass or trees,” from Justice Johnson.
“What it was like to live in the desert?” from Carson Liebeck.
“If they missed the trees,” from Paxton Leerkes.
“It was a great project,” Willsboro Superintendent Stephen Broadwell said. “Our students benefited from the experience, and they were able to send a piece of home to our alumni soldiers. It was great that they could have the Skype call and bring this technology into the lives of both parties. It shows how flat the world really is.”
Jacques said that the class started earlier in the year to send packages and letters to Sayward and Reynolds.
“We had Jessica Sayward in our class a lot, and the kids were able to talk with her about Matt and where he was,” she said. “This gave me an idea that we should try to do something to try and make things a little easier for her and the boys.”
Jacques said she talked with the class about where Afghanistan was and what it meant for them to be so far away from their families. Then the class sent packages to the soldiers, which included items Jessica told them the two needed as well as a couple of presents from the children.
“We have Snuggle Puppy, a ‘pet’ that the kids get to take home on the weekends,” Jacques said. “We got the boys their own Snuggle Puppy. We also made these little people out of paper. We sent them out and they sent us pictures back with Snuggle Puppy and the people.”
The class also received a thank you from the duo.
“Dear Mrs. Jacques’s Pre-Kindergarten Class,” the response that accompanied one of the pictures said. “Thank you very much for the care packages that you all have sent to us. We appreciate all the hard work you have put into them. It makes our day a little happier when we get a package in the mail. Thank You, Senior Airman Matthew Sayward, Staff Sergeant Jacob Reynolds.”
Jacques said that both soldiers are supposed to return to the North Country in the next week and she hopes they will be able to meet with the students even though the school year has ended.
“We are trying to get something together with the parents,” she said. “It would be a great way to end this for the kids and for them, as well.”