Kuster visits New Searles Elementary

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster D-N.H. on Monday collects cards from fourth-graders at New Searles Elementary School in Nashua. The students made cards for veterans as part of Kuster’s “Holiday Cards for Heroes” drive.

NASHUA – Just when U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., thought answering questions from the media or Republicans in Congress was tough, she found an even more challenging group: fourth-graders.

During her Monday trip to New Searles Elementary School, students quizzed Kuster on everything from her roles as a member of Congress, to where she worked, to if she enjoyed her job, and what hours she worked.

Along with fielding these questions, Kuster visited the school Monday to collect cards the students made for veterans as part of Kuster’s “Holiday Cards for Heroes” drive.

Each year, Kuster collects cards from students at schools across the state. She then takes the cards to the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton and the Manchester Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Kuster also visited and collected cards from students at Windham Center School before visiting New Searles.

Kuster visited New Searles Elementary School Teacher Sara Davidson’s class. Four other teachers, James Hansen, Catherine Cornwall, Michelle Henning and Jennifer Martel, and their students joined for the session.

Kuster then got a chance to ask some questions of the students. She asked if they knew anyone who was a veteran or was currently serving. Many of the students were able to share with Kuster their connections to veterans – whether it was a grandfather, an aunt or uncle, a parent or a cousin.

Kuster also asked the students if they had ever visited Washington, D.C. and who New Hampshire’s two U.S. senators are. Kuster was impressed that the students could list off the names of the U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both D-N.H., so quickly. Davidson said her students had recently done a unit on civics and government, while also visiting the New Hampshire State House in Concord.

Once Kuster was done answering questions, she told the students why she collects the cards. Kuster told the students some of the veterans to whom they take cards may not be able to see their families during the holidays, so receiving cards from students may help brighten their holidays.

Kuster told The Telegraph, “(The veterans) feel tremendous pride by the recognition of students.”

She said many who have served feel honored when they receive letters. Kuster also said this gives students the opportunity to think about veterans and those who are serving currently, along with U.S. history.

Kuster, who serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations as a ranking member, and the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, said veterans are a priority.

“I really feel strongly that our veterans have served us and now, it’s time for us to serve them,” she said.

Kuster and her team will be dropping off cards on Wednesday.

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.