The Marsh Middle School Cadet Corps has launched a three-fold vision to enrich its program, honor local veterans and educate younger kids in the community. Commander David Bates and his students plan to create their own military museum on campus, and they’re calling for neighborhood veterans to donate war memorabilia.

“We’re preparing for the future by learning from the past,” Bates says. The school’s ROTC program is known for serving economically disadvantaged students, promoting success through military principles. The museum would add real-life context to the curriculum. “They might think, ‘Wow, I’m poor, but I’m not in a foxhole,’ ” Bates says.

The project is completely student-driven. The cadets will build and curate the exhibits and organize free tours for elementary schools lacking funds for field trips.

Marsh Middle School cadets Jordan Zarate, first lieutenant, and Natalie Franco, captain, sort through artifacts for the military museum. PHOTO BY Can Türkyilmaz

The museum will showcase all types of artifacts — from flight uniforms and helmets to photographs and dog tags. Each exhibit will include a picture and biography of the local veteran who donated it.

“It’s what people did for us back then,” says Natalie Franco, an eighth-grader and the cadets’ commanding officer. “Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”

Bates says the project will help young people appreciate and learn from their elders, especially those who sacrificed it all. The cadets plan to coordinate speaking events with the veterans featured in the museum.

“These guys have superhero war stories,” Bates says.

• To donate funds or war memorabilia, contact David Bates at 214.549.1826 or Items may be dropped off at the school, 3838 Crown Shore.

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