Beebe Middle School Fifth Grade Gets Involved

Apr 30th, 2014 | By admin | Category: Education

In World War II, he served as a Navajo code talker, one of the marines who became legendary by using their native tongue to transmit messages that the enemy could not decipher.  The students in Mrs. Vaden’s fifth grade Social Studies classes immediately connected with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette article about veteran Tom Jones, Jr.

“We read that book in Language Arts class!” the students excitedly related their experiences in reading the book Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac.

As the students listened to the plight of nearly 9,000 military veterans living on the reservation that straddles the New Mexico-Arizona border, they decided to get involved.  Guided by Harding Student intern Moriah Huffman, the students wrote letters to Congressman Tim Griffin, voicing their concerns regarding Navajo veterans’ living conditions.

“The students truly took action when they realized there was a need on the Navajo reservation”, said Miss Huffman.   “It was so exciting watching their thought process as they realized they could make a change.”

In addition to exercising the right to inquire to their Legislative Branch of government, the students decided it would be important to raise awareness among their peers as well.  Designing posters headlining the circumstances surrounding poor housing for the Navajo veterans proved an enthusiastic activity resulting in colorful reminders along the hallways of the Middle School.

“We want to instill in them that they are important citizens who can make a difference in society”, reported Miss Huffman.

On Tuesday, April 22, the students received a response to their letters from Congressman Griffin, stating that as a member of the Armed Forces, he is committed to proper care for all our nation’s veterans.

Congressman Griffin informed students of a 1992 Native American Direct Loan (NADL) to provide mortgage assistance specifically for Native Americans living on tribal lands, a program that is still being funded today. Promising to continue to fight for support of veterans, Congressman Griffin thanked students for their letters and encouraged them to continue to make their voices heard on the important issues facing our country.

“Teachers are always in search of new opportunities for their students to connect their basic knowledge of government to actual practice”, explained Mrs. Vaden.  “Last year, these students took part in a mock presidential election.  This year, they have become part of raising awareness of an important current issue, and as a participant in congressional representation.”