Students at Port St. Joe schools are sending out the holiday spirit.

Students at Port St. Joe schools are sending out the holiday spirit.

Last week, art classes at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School focused on creating holiday greeting cards that will be sent to members of the U.S. Military serving abroad as well as spread cheer in the community.

More than 400 cards were created, each written and drawn by students in grades K-3 or 8-12.

“We took one week out of the year to do something for someone else,” said art teacher Julie Hodges, who has led holiday-themed projects the past eight years.

Of the 400 cards, 225 will be split between Samantha Nicodemus, sister of PSJ student Kyle Nicodemus, who is stationed in Japan and Terry Thompson, Jr., currently serving in Afghanistan.

Nicodemus and Thompson will then share the cards among their fellow troops.

“We’re doing something nice for people who can’t be home for the holidays,” said Hodges.

On Monday, Hodges, along with several members of the recently-formed National Art Honor Society visited The Bridge at Bay St. Joe nursing home where they delivered the remaining 175 cards to residents.

“Everyone was so thankful,” said Hodges. “It makes everyone feel good…the giver and the receiver.”

Special needs students in The Bridges program also joined Hodges’ class and created their own holiday cards alongside her students and also had a chance to work with clay, oil paints and pastels.

For Hodges, the feedback that she gets from the families of the folks serving overseas or even from locals as the postcards are handed out is what keeps the project on her syllabus each year.

Prior to shipping the postcards to the troops, Hodges sat down at read each card for quality assurance purposes.

“I read every single one,” said Hodges. “The students wrote beautiful letters.”