As Harbor View’s Student Council president this school year, sixth-grader Catherine Webb created a project that is her legacy — a program where students take time to learn about American heroes, then send them handwritten letters to thank them for their deeds.
The Kids Kare project was inspired by a family discussion a year ago, when Catherine’s father, Michael Webb, told of U.S. Marine Corps veteran Dakota Meyer, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan in 2009.
“I was very impressed,” Catherine said. “And I thought it would be nice to thank him and other people who help our country.”
When school began, Catherine ran for Student Council president, using her ideas for a Kids Kare letter-writing campaign in her speech. After her election, she spoke to school principal Charlene Metoyer, who spoke to teachers, and the project began in the spring.
“She planned, prepared, explained her project to the students at Flag Deck and collected all the letters,” Metoyer said. “I am very proud of her.”
Hundreds of Harbor View students between first and sixth grade wrote letters to Meyer, to Bill and Melinda Gates or to members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Catherine collected the letters, some of which include drawings, and will bind them and mail them over the summer.
Jarod Macalisang, a fourth grader, wrote to Meyer. “I bet when you go back home, everybody was proud of you,” his letter said. “I can’t believe you risked your life for others. If some people say you shouldn’t serve the Medal of Honro, they’re dumb.”
Salem Froehlich, a third-grader, chose to write to Bill and Melinda Gates.
“You two deserve our thanks because you donated $26,194,000,000,” her letter said. “That is way more money then how much money our whole class has together.”
Fifth-grader Amanda Rossini-Hein wrote to the Supreme Court jurists.
“Our country is safe because of you,” she wrote. “I couldn’t imagine trying to fall asleep worrying that a cop might barge into my house robbing my family of our belongings. Luckily you remind me that that won’t happen because I live in a protected area and country…Thank you to the power of infinity.”
“The letters were very in-depth,” Catherine said. “Even from the first graders. They care.”
Catherine said she hoped next year’s Student Council would continue with the project, and that she hoped as a member of Corona del Mar Middle School’s ASB program next year, that she could introduce it to her new school.
“I think it would be great, whether at CdM or at Harbor View or both,” her father, Michael Webb, said. “She was so floored hearing about Dakota Meyer’s heroic actions. She was so touched by that. To share the story, and to give other kids an outlet to express their gratitude — it’s character building.”
Catherine said the project started small but ended with about 250 letters to mail this summer.
“I hope it will become a huge thing,” she said. “Expressing thanks — It’s common courtesy.”