Hollywood students send cards to TSA agents

School embraces mom's idea to thank workers unpaid during shutdown

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

It's not easy to work when you're not getting paid, but Transportation Security Administration workers at Midway Airport were cheered up by receiving thank you cards from students at Hollywood School last week.

Nearly 50 students at the Brookfield school made thank you cards on Jan. 16 that were delivered to Transportation Security Administration workers at Midway Airport. The cards thanked the agents for working without pay during the partial shutdown of the federal government, which looked like it was finally coming to an end – at least temporarily – on Jan. 25 after 35 days.

The idea of making cards to thank the TSA workers, who were deemed essential employees and were required to work during the shutdown, came from a Rachel Ehresman, the mother of Hollywood fourth-grader Jack Sandusky.

Ehresman is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and wanted to do something to show the TSA employees that their dedication to their job was appreciated. However, as someone who goes through security, she could not give the TSA workers anything herself.

Instead, she brought the idea of making cards to Hollywood fourth-grade teacher Sarah Leung, who got the go-ahead from Principal Kim Hefner, who thought it was a great idea.

Leung discussed the idea with her class, explaining to her students that the TSA employees, who conduct security checks at airports, were working without pay.

"We had a very good conversation about what's happening with the shutdown, who it's affecting, what that actually means," Leung said.

Hollywood resource teacher Colleen Nelson, the sponsor the school's new Volunteer Club, found out about the cards and quickly decided that she would offer her club members the chance to get involved.

About 25 members of the Volunteer Club gave up their recess to make more cards.

"They were really excited to make the cards," Nelson said. "Just to take their recess time to do that showed how much they really cared."

Ehresman then took approximately 60 cards to Midway and gave them to the TSA workers, who posed for a photo with them to show they appreciated the students' gesture.

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