Farmington first to tie high school into Yellow Ribbon network
FHS students unite to help serve military families
A Farmington High School senior’s idea for a new club is poised to become a tradition that may echo in schools across the state and nation.
Andy Morris, 17, sought to start a club for students planning to enlist in the military, but instead has founded what he believes is the nation’s first student chapter of an established Yellow Ribbon Network, appropriately called the Farmington Yellow Ribbon Student Chapter.
“I think it’s pretty cool to be the first one,” Morris said. “It’s nice to be able to take the initiative and be able to help those people that need it.”
Farmington’s Yellow Ribbon Network, formerly titled Warrior to Citizen, organized in 2008 to honor and help military service members and their families.
The student club will join the network in its mission to assist deployed soldiers’ families through volunteer service.
Last week, some club members joined the Yellow Ribbon Network effort to help the wife of a deployed soldier move to Farmington.
Club members will continue that kind of service and help the Farmington Yellow Ribbon Network with its online presence and marketing materials.
Students in the club will learn about the military by inviting speakers that may include Farmington resident Annette Kuyper, director of military outreach for the Minnesota Army National Guard, or soldiers returning from boot camp.
Todd Karich, an FHS social studies teacher and the club’s adviser, said he may offer students involvement in the club as an opportunity for service learning as part of his class curriculum.
“My goal is to teach student leadership,” he said, crediting Morris for the effort he has put forth to establish the club.
Morris created a promotional video, met with school officials, organized a sign-up table during lunch and met with Yellow Ribbon Network members.
Karich said he expects the idea will spread to other high schools across the state and nation.
“As a social studies teacher, this is something I would like to continue to see grow,” he said.
Morris, who plans to join the Marines after he graduates on June 8, is working with FHS junior Brad Dow and has high hopes for the club’s future.
“I’m hoping he can lead it next year,” Morris said.
Kuyper said she is excited about the student chapter’s formation.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “They’re going to be totally connected to what the community is doing. They’re going to have a rep from their student chapter be on our steering committee, and we’ve identified ways we’re going to partner and work together, so it is phenomenal.”
More information is online at facebook.com/BeyondtheYellowRibbonStudentChapter.