WEST FRANKFORT (WSIL) — Teens from Frankfort Community High School spent their last days of the school year honoring veterans.
"I just felt grateful for them. I had never really thought about it and they really paid the ultimate sacrifice," said senior Ryley House.
It was the several months leading up to this Memorial Day event that brought the students their final lesson of high school. It also introduced many of them to fallen soldiers from their hometown.
"I think that it surprised them how many veteran’s there were," said instructor Judith Little
At the end of every school year Mrs. Little has the Senior Honors Social Studies class do a project on the history West Frankfort. This year, the 11 students thought about the soldiers who died in the line of duty and placed flags on their graves.
"We thought about stuff we could impact the community as a whole with and I brought this idea up and the class loved it and we went on from there," added senior Max Pernitsky.
The group raised about $8,000.
"We went to every business in West Frankfort asking for donations," said Max.
He said they placed more than 1,500 flags on graves spread across three West Frankfort cemeteries.
"The community opened up its heart and its pocketbook both," added Judith.
"The community was a very big help in our success with this," said Ryley.
Since their were so many graves, Ryley said they got help from AP Social Students class.
"You learn so much. People from the Spanish American War and then people who served in three wars, maybe even four."
He said he never realized the rich history that was in his own back yard.
"There were so many. Some of them have little plaques on the ground and you can tell because it will say where and what they served in."
The ceremony may have been the ending of the year and their efforts but it was also the beginning of high respect and great esteem for those who are gone but will never be forgotten by these students.
The students also gave money to the cemetery to help with upkeep. Mrs. Little says she hopes to keeping ending the school years just like this.