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Students at Crestview Prep help GIs phone home

June 18, 2004

General Michael Teilmann, executive director of the Los Angeles branch of the USO, accepted a $1,500 donation to the USO's phone card program from Crestview Preparatory School's sixth-graders on Wednesday, June 9. One hundred percent of this donation will be used by the USO to purchase 300 phone cards that will be distributed to American soldiers heading oversees by way of Los Angeles International Airport and to those arriving in Kuwait prior to being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Each card will be good for 120 minutes of telephone calls.

Carlos Cortez, Congressman David Dreier's field representative, was present to witness this event. Cortez read to Crestview students, faculty, staff and parents present at the June 9 presentation ceremony a proclamation from Dreier congratulating Crestview's sixth-graders for their efforts. A letter of commendation for the sixth-graders' efforts from Senator Dianne Feinstein was also read.

Crestview's sixth-graders were inspired to make this donation after reading "Homecoming" by Cynthia Voight, which is about how important "home" is and after a visit from Staff Sgt. Brian Sheaves, who used to maintain Crestview's facilities, on leave from Afghanistan where he maintained tank weaponry. Sheaves told the students it costs $20 to phone home from Afghanistan.

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The class got concerned about how expensive it is for someone on a soldier's salary to call home and they wanted to help, so they overwhelmingly voted to donate the proceeds of their monthly bake sales to the phone card program. Sixth grade parents donated the baked goods for sale and the sixth graders sold the donated baked goods to Crestview students, faculty and staff. The monthly bake sales were enthusiastically supported by the entire Crestview community.

"Our sixth-graders are very proud to make a phone call home possible for so many soldiers," said Lori Prater, a sixth-grade teacher at Crestview.

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