Skyping holiday cheer to US troops

DREXEL HILL, Pa. - December 21, 2011

"We want to thank you for all that you do for all that you sacrifice, for the sake of our country," said one student, speaking for dozens facing a webcam.

With gratitude, with song, and let's not forget Skype, students at Saint Andrew School in Drexel Hill, Pa. spread Christmas cheer to members of the Air Force and Marine Corps who won't be home for the holidays.

This idea was born after the students had a question-and-answer session last June through Skype with several of these Marines stationed at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. Students researched the USO, looked at old Bob Hope videos and crafted routines to make these troops smile.

"We'll do everything we can back here at home. I hope they return home safely," said eighth grader Michael Oladosu.

There were costumes, carols, dancing and drums. The performance was jam packed.

"What do you get when you cross a vampire with a snowman? Frostbite!" deadpanned one young comedian.

The show was designed with the hope that the Marines overseas would feel close to home, even if geography separates them.

"Since they weren't going to be home for Christmas, we brought a little home to them," said eighth grader Jake Mengel.

"It's awesome to know that even though we're thousands of miles away, people are still thinking about us in their prayers, people that don't even know us," said Marine Gunnery Sergeant Phil Collins.

"It really makes our time here go a little faster," said another service member.

This is the first year these students have done this program over Skype. But judging from its success, it won't be the last.

"Will we do it again? Yes, I guess we'll do it again, said teacher Stephanie Wetzel.

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