NEW BREMEN — A group of area sixth-grade students are on a mission to educate the public about a topic that they have become knowledgeable and passionate about over the first half of their school year.
The students in Angie Niemeyer’s class researched the civilian salute. After collaboration between the three classes of students, a letter was written and a video was created to help spread the word of the importance of the civilian salute. The salute, performed by placing the right hand over the heart, is traditionally used during the Pledge of Allegiance and during the National Anthem.
The students started researching the topic after Niemeyer asked them if they knew why they put their hands over their hearts during the Pledge of Allegiance. The students then began observing what those around them did during the National Anthem at a football game.
“People weren’t saluting the flag when they were supposed to,” Luci Wynk said, noting that she saw kids running around and adults not paying attention.
The students then started researching the topic online and in books and found the civilian salute is required by law but is not enforced because of the freedoms Americans have been granted. The students also found that as of 2008, military personnel not in uniform may salute the flag.
After they finished their research, each student wrote a persuasive letter.
“We all wrote separate letters and then we collaborated and wrote one together,” Emily Alt said.
The letter was then sent to area schools, in hopes that they would read it before sporting events.
“We sent it to the athletic directors at the MAC schools,” Sara Champagne said.
After sending out their letter, the students decided to take a more global approach to spreading their message.
“We decided if it were on YouTube, more people would look at it,” Ezra Ferguson said. “We thought then people outside the schools would see it and people around the world.”
To create the video, students first worked out a plan before collecting pictures and video and conducting interviews of students and staff.
The sixth-grade students then worked together to edit the video before posting it to YouTube. Since being uploaded on Jan. 30, the video has been viewed more than 2,000 times.
“Mrs. Niemeyer picked one kid from each class — they were the technical kids — and they were the ones that sat at the computer,” Celeste Kuck said. “Everybody made suggestions and we (the technical kids) made it happen.”
The students agreed the project was fun and informative and said they have enjoyed seeing how many people have seen their video.
Noah Parlett said the whole project was a good experience.
“It was a great accomplishment,” he said. “I like to watch all the views we get from around the world and all the great comments we get.”
The students agreed that the end result has been rewarding.
“I liked after it was all done and how everyone could see our message,” Ezra said. “I didn’t know all this was going to happen.”
Niemeyer said she enjoyed watching the students work on the project.
“(My favorite part) was to see them become so passionate about a topic,” she said.
The video can be viewed at Youtube.com/watch?v=v7bHeqb4Pbg or search “New Bremen Civilian Salute” on YouTube.com.