Kindergartners at Park Terrace Elementary School, Spring Lake Park, had all kinds of questions for Army Sgt. Colleen Schellinger when she came to visit on Veterans Day.
The questions ranged from silly to serious. One young man wanted to know if Schellinger had played with toys when she was little. Repeatedly, Schellinger was asked if she gets to ride in a helicopter. A student asked if the Army fought all of the time.
Kindergarten teacher Mary Strohmayer invited Schellinger, her daughter, to address her class and three other kindergarten sections at Park Terrace Monday.
Schellinger told the students about when she was deployed and received notes from elementary students in Minnesota. Then, they created their very own thank you notes for veterans.
“Thank you for keeping us safe,” students wrote. Their leftover Halloween candy will be included in the package sent overseas.
Spending one-year in Iraq as a dog handler and 10 months in Qatar as a military police investigator, Schellinger said that she missed her family very much when she was away.
In the Army Reserve, Schellinger trains one weekend each month and for two weeks during the summer. Home in Minnesota, she is attending school to become a police officer.
One of the reasons Strohmayer invited her daughter to visit is so students could see a female military figure.
Students asked if Schellinger was the only female in the Army. When she said she wasn’t, they upped their estimate to 15, then 500.
“Thank you,” the students repeated over and over, as well as “I love you!” before Schellinger made her exit.
Olivia Koester is at firstname.lastname@example.org