Elementary students create music video to thank veterans, military members for their service

DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - Between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, 'thankful' is a common theme in the month of November.

Some elementary students in De Pere are making sure active duty military members and veterans know just how much they appreciate and are proud of their service.

The Thankful Project ensures that message is heard around the world.

The music and song from nearly 500 excited young voices can be heard echoing through the gymnasium at Dickinson Elementary School in De Pere.

"You! You! You! We appreciate you. We think you are great," begins the lyrics of song number one.

After weeks of practicing and preparing, the kindergarten through fourth graders are loving every minute of their recording session.

Teachers make up the audience during the recording, but now veterans and active duty personnel around the world will get to view The Thankful Project.

The music video features three patriotic and thankful songs, along with pictures, recognizing the service and sacrifice of those in the military, past and present.

The kids are excited to be a part of it all.

"I think they're going to be proud because they are the people serving in the military, and they are the making difference," says third grade student Melody Lutteo. "That's the whole reason we made this song."

"Oh, we are thankful, thankful, positively joyful, thankful for the USA," begins a second song.

Music teacher Michelle Bredael came up with the idea.

She was initially going to have her two active duty nephews share the video with troops in their units, one stationed in Japan.

But the more they talked about the project, the bigger it became, with a mission now of sharing it with service members and veterans groups not just in Northeast Wisconsin, but around the world.

"We do have a lot of families at Dickinson that do have parents in the military, so we're hoping that they will see this and share it with their family members that were veterans as well," says Bredael.

"The older kids start to understand a little more deeply just what veterans and the military does and the opportunities that they afford us," says school principal Luke Herlache. "At the lunch table today, a lot of the kids were telling me about their grandpas and uncles and great-grandpas that served, so there was a lot of buzz with the kids today."

"I think it was really cool that we got to thank all our troops," says fourth grade student Kyle Grutzmacher.

"They're going to like it," adds kindergarten student Kendall Spice.

Natalie Novak, a fourth grade student, says, "I think they're going to be really proud of us, and we're really proud of them."

As for what they want to make sure all service members know, Jack Gillespie simply says, "Thank you."