TYLER (KYTX) - Robert E. Lee students are preparing for a big fund raiser that benefits U.S. soldiers stationed all over the world.
For the last three weeks, Lee students have been practicing for a performance that will take place next week in dedication to Vietnam veterans. Proceeds from that show will go to Operation Gratitude, a program students here are already very familiar with. It's an organization that urges Americans to write heartfelt letters to the troops, which is exactly what Lee students are doing.
"Dear Hero, I'm calling you this because a hero is exactly what you are to me. I can never thank you enough for your service. It means so much to every American. I am a senior in high school and will be attending Oklahoma City University as a Musical Theater major in the fall."
As she writes, Robert E. Lee senior Katie Sperry imagines a soldier far from home, reading her letter and smiling.
"I just want to make them happy," Sperry says. "I want to do something special and show my support even in a little way like writing a letter."
She is one of 100 students at Lee, and dozens of others from middle schools across Tyler, writing to our troops, and filling them in on what's going on at home.
Sperry writes, "The main news in Texas at least is that everyone is mad at the Cowboys for not choosing Johhny Manziel in the NFL draft."
Then of course, the students are telling the soldiers how much they're appreciated.
"There's so much that they do for us. Without them we couldn't do what we do today. So it's really an honor to be able to do this for them," Sperry says, looking down at the letter she wrote.
It ends: "I hope you stay safe and that you will return home soon. If you have the time please write back and tell me about yourself. Thank you again for your service. You make me proud to be an American. We'll be praying for you. Love, Katie Sperry."
The students will be performing that benefit concert, "USO Show: Vietnam," at the Robert E. Lee Performing Arts Center. Shows start Thursday May 29, and go until June 1.
For more specific show times, click here for Robert E. Lee's event calendar.