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Connecting Students with Veterans
June 28, 2016: Volume 5, Issue 3
Special Announcements 
     Seven Outstanding Students Awarded VHP Scholarships
VHP Personal Scholarships
Students reflect upon their personal journeys and lessons of character. 
From left to right: VHP Board Member Donna Ward, scholarship recipients Katelyn Finegan and Jenna Reynolds, and VHP Board Member Joe Brett 
1st Place (Tie) 

Katelyn Finegan 
Cactus Shadows HS, Cave Creek, AZ 

"VHP has given me unforgettable lessons that contribute to my character: 
Meet people’s eyes when you speak to them.  
Do not hide your face.  
Keep your chin up.  
Walk like you know your destination.  
Learn to love what you do, despite the difficulties you will certainly face.  
Pull a prank or two when an opportunity presents.  
Do not discriminate toward those you fight beside.  
And savor your homecomings."                              

Jenna Reynolds
Cactus Shadows HS,  Cave Creek, AZ

"They [my veterans] taught me to choose to fight in life to make my mark, just as they did."                   
2nd Place

McKenzie Cooper
Campo Verde HS, Gilbert, AZ

"He [Ron Smith, veteran interviewed] has taught me many life lessons that I may not have learned had we not met. They resonated with me and inspired me to take a deep breath... take the risky step into the unknown in order to live abundantly."  
3rd Place

Tyler Blanchard
Ironwood Ridge HS, Tucson, AZ

"I am humbled by the sacrifices that they [veterans], and members of their families, have made so that all Americans may enjoy the opportunities and freedoms that define our country."
Above & Beyond Scholarship
Recognizes a student who has expended extra work and time in helping veterans, working for their chapter, or serving as a VHP Ambassador
Kylee Hodil
Shadow Mountain HS, Phoenix, AZ

"VHP shows that our generation truly cares for the sacrifices men and women have contributed over the years and continue to do for us daily."
Caitlin Campbell Travel Scholarship 
In memory of a VHP Alumna, this award provides a travel opportunity to a deserving student eager to experience another culture, particularly one  associated with military history.

Cindy Yoo
Shadow Mountain HS, Phoenix, AZ 

“Visiting South Korea will give me an opportunity to revisit my family who reside in Seoul.  My grandfather was 11 years old when the Korean War began, and served as the Chief of Police for 30 years…speaking to him would give me great insight on what the country was like during the war."
Cindy Yoo with Caitlin Campbell's parents Liz & Bill Campbell, as well as Board Members Donna Ward (left) and Joe Brett (right) 
Special Scholarship Opportunity
Thanks to State Farm, VHP had a special opportunity for Teacher Advisors to nominate a student to receive a scholarship to attend a Maricopa Community College. 
Elizabeth Reyes
Shadow Mountain HS, Phoenix, AZ 

Elizabeth is a vital part of the chapter due to her officer positions, strong relationships with her veterans, and excellent event planning support.  She is a five-year VHP student because she started in 8th grade at Shea Middle School. She is excited to use this scholarship to pursue her dreams of becoming an author and psychologist. 
   VHP Alumna Madi Pascale graduates from the 
US Naval Academy

Madi, pictured with her parents Nino and Chris, took her passion for veterans all the way through commissioning at the US Naval Academy with the Class of 2016. Barbara Hatch attended this momentous event, and is so proud to have one of her VHPers headed off to flight school in Pensacola.
VHP Advisor Jane Anderson recognized by Daughters of the 

Every year, the Daughters of the American  Revolution (DAR) acknowledge Outstanding Teachers of American History who have "demonstrated excellence in sharing an incisive knowledge of American history; commitment to their students; fostering a spirit of patriotism and loyal support of our country; relating history to modern life and events; and requiring high academic standards from their students." The Gila Butte DAR announced VHP's Kyrene Akimel A-al Middle School advisor, Jane Anderson (pictured above between two DAR members) as this year's recipient! We are thrilled to see Jane recognized for all the amazing work she does in connecting students with the past so they can "understand the present and change the future." She is passing the torch to a new advisor at Kyrene after her retirement from teaching this year, but plans to stay involved in VHP to take it to a new level!  Congratulations, Jane!
Barbara Hatch, VHP Founder, is presented the 2016 Hon Kachina Volunteer Award at 39th  Annual Event

On May 7, 2016, the Hon Kachina Council  recognized the achievement of seven outstanding Arizona volunteers, including   Barbara Hatch, for her 12 years in building VHP's programs.

As an honoree, Barbara was able to share her passion for veterans and students with 350 event attendees and received a one-of-a-kind hand-carved Hon Kachina doll.  The successful event raised funds for each awardee's non-profit organization.   
From left to right: Barbara Hatch, VHP Vice President Joe Brett, and Sofia Ripa  
VHP Alumna Sofia Ripa granted United States citizenship

Sofia came to Arizona from Argentina with her mother in 2010. She quickly realized she had very little in common with other people her age, which left her feeling lost and incomplete in such a difficult transition. In her World History class, Barbara Hatch made her feel understood, so she joined Hatch's club, Veterans Heritage Project. Through the project she found six "father figures" in the veterans she interviewed, along with the passion and heart of this country, in the veterans' stories. According to Sofia, "This project showed me what America really is." She graduated from Cactus Shadows High School in 2014 and went on to Arizona State University in the Fall, seeking to prepare for a career of service in the military because of her experience with VHP. 

On June 17, Sofia Ripa took an oath to become an American citizen. Before her ceremony, she reached out to Barbara and expressed, "I wanted to thank you for being the person who single-handedly showed me how to love America and accept my new home...I've been training with the Marines and will be submitting an officer application to attend Officer Candidate School next summer...Thank you for everything." 

The VHP team is continually inspired by our students, and motivated by the impact that the program has on their lives. Sofia, thank you for being such a passionate and engaged young woman, and congratulations on being our newest US citizen! 
Chapter News 
VHP Engaging in 
Civic Activities 
  • On May 9, Kyrene Akimel A-al Middle School hosted its 23rd annual Patriotic Day celebration! This is a public event at the school with musical performances, guest speakers, and breakfast for visitors with the purpose of honoring veterans and active duty military and promoting patriotism among the next generation. Kyrene's VHP chapter welcomed guests to the event, and Advisor Jane Anderson talked about the program, inviting veterans to be interviewed!  
  • On May 21, VHP Flagstaff High School Advisor Shelly Stearns and her students participated in the Armed Forces Day Parade in Flagstaff! 
  • On May 24, VHP attended the annual SRP Memorial Day Luncheon at their headquarters in Tempe. Keynote Speaker Tim Geraghty, Vietnam veteran and Commander in Beirut when the Marine Corps barracks were bombed in 1983, shared stories and wisdom about the importance of remembering those that gave all for this great country. The event helped raise funds for Mary Ellen's Place, an affordable housing facility for women veterans, and the Semper Fi Fund. 

  • On Memorial Day every year, VHP students and volunteers participate in the Wreath Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. All in attendance bonded over many additional heartfelt components of the program, including a flyover of actual WWII antique trainer planes, the playing of TAPS, and the release of white doves.

  • On June 10, VHP attended the State VFW Conference in Chandler. VFW veterans from around the state gathered at Crowne Plaza to discuss their posts. We were happy to set up a table to tell them about our program.
Vietnam Marine Sam Rosselli high-fives
Patriotic Day Kindergarten Singers. 
The Flagstaff High School VHP students lining up to get ready for the Armed Forces Day Parade. 
Tim Geraghty speaking to SRP Veteran Group.
VHP Student Becki Meils created
a beautiful illuminated wreath.
Barbara at the VFW State Conference.
Upcoming Events
VHP Chapter Trainings coming up!

At the beginning of each operational year, VHP hosts a series of trainings for our chapter advisors and volunteers. 
  • August 6, 2016 - Chapter Advocate Training
  • August 20, 2016 - Teacher Advisor Kickoff & Training
  • September 10, 2016 - NEW! Publishing Chapter Training 
Calendar.3D illustration of a calendar on a white floor background with Calendar icon.
Volunteer Spotlight
This past year, VHP implemented the Chapter Advocate Program to serve as a support system to our advisors in accomplishing the tasks involved in running a chapter. We would like to acknowledge these eager volunteers for helping to pilot the program and each offering positive contributions to our chapters

John Sentz was present at meetings and events for East Valley schools, particularly Kyrene Middle School and Campo Verde HS. He connected the schools to community support and events, and helped them fundraise to cover chapter costs! He was diligent in ensuring and supporting their success! 

Virgel Cain, the original Chapter Advocate and our inspiration for the program, was instrumental in navigating the advisor transition at Cactus Shadows HS after Barbara Hatch's retirement, and providing a strong support system for the Sonoran Trails Middle School program. Virgel also continues to help introduce new schools to VHP.

Dick Melick had a crucial role in mobilizing the Northern Arizona region. He coordinated with the four chapters in that region to organize their very first Book Signing and Reception, including securing donations for the event, and following up on all invitations to guests. 

Sven Olsen is dedicated to the thriving of the Tucson region! He worked closely with the Ironwood Ridge HS chapter on their Veterans Day Assembly (over 600 people), and was a keynote speaker for the event. He was also very involved in the planning of their Book Signing and Reception, helping to secure their Keynote speaker, Dr. Rich Carmona!

Lory Baraz is the mother of the student who started the program at Chaparral HS in Scottsdale. Even though her son is now a VHP alumnus attending Occidental College in Los Angeles, Lory is committed to the Chaparral chapter's success! She worked closely with the advisor, Steve Millam, to see that deadlines were met, and ensured stories were fully edited before publishing! 

Love the program? Get involved! 
to see volunteer opportunities. 
Thank you to these wonderful organizations for making an impact in our community!

On National Volunteer Appreciation day this past April, the in-kind contributions of these organizations helped VHP honor our dedicated volunteers who go above and beyond all year long in serving our mission.
In-Kind Donors
Continuing to Serve Through Planned Giving 

Are you interested in helping Veterans Heritage Project with our mission but feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing another check? Would you like to ensure that your annual charitable contributions to VHP programs continue? Do you desire to make a special gift that will enhance our ability to achieve our mission in the future?

A simple way to ensure we can continue our mission for years to come is through a gift in your will, known as a charitable bequest. Charitable bequests and trusts enable you to make significant contributions that may not be possible during your lifetime. Additionally, many individuals have life insurance policies that can be used to benefit charities. Donors can bequest either a specific sum or a percentage of their estate. By including a bequest to VHP in your will, trust, or life insurance policy, you are leaving a legacy for future generations of VHP students and veterans. 

Next Steps:

  1. Seek the advice of your financial, legal, or tax advisor to determine any estate benefits.

  2. If you include VHP in your plans, please use our legal name and federal tax ID.

    Legal Name: Veterans Heritage Project
    Address: P.O. Box 1297, Carefree, Arizona 85377
    Federal Tax ID Number:  26-4572636

  3. Please let us know your philanthropic legacy plans so that we may thank you.

Attention Veterans!
Send in your pictures for McCormick-Stillman
Railroad Park Concert Series! 
The McCormick-Stilman Railroad Park is hosting a summer concert series every Sunday night from May 1- July 3, and for the last concert of the season they would like to feature a slideshow of local veterans in honor of the July 4 holiday the following day.

They need our help collecting veteran photos! 

If you are interested, please send a high-resolution photo of yourself, or any friends or family who are veterans, along with their name to the
Veterans Heritage Project |  1-877-VHP-PROJ (847-7765) |