The lesson at Academy Charter School in Palmer this school year has been one of giving back, with the teaching moments coming from students to benefit Alaska's veterans.

"These kids are passionate. They're passionate about patriotism. They're passionate about doing something big and being part of something bigger than themselves," said eighth grade teacher Stacy Molina.

Some students in Molina's class were part of a robotics team that won a $500 prize for Computational Thinking, as part of the Mat-Su Borough School District's Tech Expo.

Students say they could have used the prize money for their team, but chose to give it to the Last Frontier Honor Flight. The program sends Alaska veterans to Washington, D.C. to tour war memorials at no expense to them.

Winning team member Carolyn Deal's father, retired Army Col. John Deal, matched the team's $500 donation. He also serves as the team's parent volunteer coach.

On Friday the students presented The Last Frontier Honor Fight with a $1,000 check, which will send one vet to Washington, D.C.

"Wow. It's just changed your whole feel about the upcoming youth of America," said Randy Kimpton, Last Frontier Honor Flight's president.

Friday's check presentation is not the first in Molina's class. In November, her students applied for and received an $8,000 grant from the Matanuska Electric Association Charity Foundation. The students gave every penny to Honor Flight, after selecting the organization as a community service project.

One student on the winning team says he doesn't like how some vets were treated when they returned home from war.

“They were treated like trash when they came back. It’s very heartbreaking when you hear their stories,” said student Armondo Figueroa.

The other winners in Molina's class say it's important for them to recognize the efforts of Alaska veterans who fought for their country.

"So us at least giving an effort to make sure that these, the veterans on Honor Flight, are appreciated, is everything,” said student Carolyn Deal.

“I feel great because we are giving something to them that they deserve for all they’ve done for us,” said student Jeffrey Vincent.

“Those who did not get the recognition that they deserved will get it now thanks to what Honor Flight does,” said student Samuel Carrington.

The students say they will continue to help raise money for the Last Frontier Honor Flight. The next trip to Washington D.C. is April 30th.

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