Leave it to students from Northern Lehigh Middle School to provide a slice of Americana overseas to our fine men and women

That's exactly what seventh graders are doing as part of an English project in which they raised money and then purchased T-shirts that will sent to our troops.

And, as of Monday, the students will once again write letters for the fifth consecutive year which, along with the T-shirts, will be sent out by Thanksgiving.

English teacher Melissa Binder said in just over a week's time, more than 100 seventh-grade students raised $190 to purchase 30 T-shirts at a discounted rate from Northern Lehigh Sporting Goods.

"This year, the kids wanted to send gifts to them," Binder said. "I think it's a great project, and important for the kids to know why they have what they have."

Last week, the students received a visit from Sgt. First Class Tim Roberts, who was stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq last year.

As part of his presentation, Roberts, who has been back home for about a year, spoke of and showed pictures from his experience overseas.

Binder said she believes the visit by Roberts was a "great English lesson" for the students.

"I think being able to listen to him and see his pictures firsthand gives them a better understanding and respect for what the soldiers are doing for us and the sacrifices that they make," she said. "This kind of brings it home for them."

Binder said she is proud of the students for their involvement in the activity.

"The kids are so excited," she said. "They're very interested and respectful; I can tell by their faces how almost in awe they are of them."