East community gives back to alumnus serving in Afghanistan

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Cranston East Social Studies teacher, Chris Ougheltree came up with a "spur of the moment" initiative to show support for our troops. 

"This is just one example of the many positive projects related to helping our community generated by the staff and students at East," he said.

Lt. Col. John Murray, JROTC advisor at East, informed the staff that a former student had been deployed to Afghanistan. He expressed to the faculty that correspondence from former teachers would mean a lot. 

"I touched base with John about food items and conveniences we might send along with our letters. John told me nuts, beef jerky, sports bars, and hard candy would be appreciated. He told me that shipping may be expensive. I emailed the faculty to say I would coordinate the collection for the ‘Bolt Pride’ packages.”

Ougheltree is also the faculty advisor for the Class of 2018, and ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he's made an effort to teach about and to promote that day as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, which is a federally-recognized day of unity and charitable service. 

"This year the senior class held a car wash and donations were collected for the 9/11 Memorial. CHSE has held moments of silence and reflection on September 11 for the past 16 years. This year's "moments" concluded by asking the students to reflect on the people in their lives that make sacrifices for them every day and to thank or hug them at some time during the day," he said.

"Sending heart felt messages from our students to a soldier serving our country was stressed; knowing that the soldier was walking the corridors of East just three to four years ago was also emphasized. We all get caught up in taking things for granted and/or seeing things from our own perspective that often times we forget about the people that help make our lives so comfortable," he said.

Ougheltree stressed the staff members deserve all the credit for their thoughtfulness and effort. 

"We have a core group of teachers at East that can be counted on to support the many, many worthy causes that our students and staff organize to help. Donations were made with goodies and the items collected expanded to toiletries, cookies, a CHSE t-shirt and a Calvin and Hobbes book. Monetary donations were made to offset the shipping costs. Most importantly, some faculty members made the effort to supply the time and material for some of our students to write messages. We eventually sent three boxes weighing about 15 pounds each," said Ougheltree.

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