Woodland Elementary educates on military life

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Patriotism in Schools: One in a series

By Kelly Cantrall

With a large military family population, Woodland Elementary School is ensuring its students understand what goes into being a soldier.


Woodland used the Veterans Day holiday as an opportunity for students to receive some firsthand knowledge about life as a soldier. Soldiers stationed at Fort Knox visited the classrooms earlier this month to answer their questions about training and deployment.

The school has asked veterans to meet and talk with the students in past years, fifth-grade teacher Sara Bollinger said. But teachers thought it would be good to bring some active-duty soldiers for the students to meet. Many of the students at Woodland have parents serving in the military.

“They might relate to them a little bit better,” Bollinger said.

Bollinger said she wanted the students to see that the men and women who serve in the military are regular people. They have families and lives that become disrupted by deployments. “... they’re just like the rest of us,” she said.

Several of the soldiers are part of the Special Troops Battalion in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, including Sgt. Eric Winski.  

The students’ questions ranged from inquiries about the largest gun he had ever shot to the reason he joined the Army, he said.

Winski has visited classrooms several times.

It’s “something I enjoy doing, coming out into the community,” he said.

Winski said the older students have a better understanding of what soldiers do and they have a great appreciation for it. His goal is to educate students on the hardships of military service.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.