Coming together during the week of the Crosstown Cup, both Oswego high schools participated in Operation Gratitude.
“Operation gratitude is a service project that collects letters and items for soldiers and is packaged up and sent to current serving military members,” said Oswego East student council sponsor Kelly Hren. “It is important to show community service philanthropy with our students and staff. This is such a great project because it’s working in collaboration with Oswego high school and it shows a community effort."
East’s Principal Dr. Louis Lee already had an idea to do a philanthropy project with Oswego High School. He immediately approached student council’s first meeting to toss some new ideas and get this project started. As student council was searching for a collaborative idea, sponsor Stephanie Scapino came up with Operation Gratitude which became the first ever joint charity project of the community high schools.
“If it’s a cross town thing, there’s going to be huge involvement … we had to think of something to do together that would be reasonable and very impactful,” said student council sponsor Stephanie Scapino. “So I started just kind of poking around and looking at different philanthropies and I came across this Operation Gratitude.” She thought it was “cool” that the care packages and letters came from all over the country.
Upon more research surrounding Operation Gratitude, Scapino found that, "[Letters are the soldiers’] favorite thing to get, more than supplies, more than anything else are these heartfelt letters from people that show they care.”
Scapino proposed the idea to Lee without delay and met with the principal and assistant principal from Oswego. They decided to this in a way that wouldn’t disrupt the academic tone of the day and decided to go on an assembly schedule shortening each period.
Student council prepared American flag themed letter paper, typed some letter guidelines, and sent links to staff members of the short video for each class to watch. As the operation was underway, student council President Katelyn Sass felt the day was a success.
“Going around taking picture and seeing all the students either silent and writing their letters or just having a ton of fun … was really inspiring to see that this is something that we implemented in the students' day. They took it very seriously and I think they enjoyed it a lot,” Sass said.
The schools are planning to present the project in some way to show the massive community cooperation and the support for the soldiers.