IM this article to a friend!

April 19, 2005

Deaf students welcome Marine home

From: Gallaudet - Apr 19, 2005

Deaf students welcome Marine home

Blog connects middle schoolers to Iraqi War

(WASHINGTON) Since last August, students at the Kendall Demonstrative Elementary School (KDES) have received firsthand accounts of the war in Iraq. On May 3, they will meet the messenger for the first time.

U.S. Sgt. Earl (Jay) Beatty will visit the students at 1:30 p.m., during a homecoming celebration at the school. KDES is located on the Gallaudet University campus (800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC).

Beatty, a Maryland state trooper and a Marine, was deployed to the Iraqi town of Fallujah in late August. Prior to leaving for his new post, he was asked if he would be willing to communicate with KDES students while stationed in Iraq as part of a visual literacy project. He accepted the offer, and he and his wife have corresponded with the students ever since.

The students set up their message center in the TecEds lab where staff members helped them send and receive e-mail from Iraq. The spontaneity of the Internet and the flexibility of digital pictures have enabled the students to have a front-line experience of the war through the eyes of the soldier.

"During the first month in Iraq, Beatty was transferred to so many locations that he never received formal mail," said Phil Bogdan, KDES art teacher/researcher, who spearheaded the project with the students. "The first messages Beatty received were those of the students and he was enormously appreciative."

The correspondence has been posted online. To check out the blog, visit