Superior High School senior Aili Arnovich partnered with the American Red Cross and other students throughout the area to produce cheerful holiday videos thanking veterans for their service.
Arnovich helped collect video footage of University of Wisconsin-Superior students and staff that were used in the virtual greetings to veterans.
“I wanted to contribute to something that would have a positive impact on people in need during the holiday season and show them an appreciation for their sacrifices to our country,” she said.
Dan Williams, executive director of the American Red Cross serving Northern Minnesota, said the entire project was done by a group of 10 young volunteers, ages 17-24, including students from UWS, the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
They spun off a number of video compilations, including a greeting focused on the UWS campus, which was produced by Elsa Robbins. A Douglas County-specific video and a region-wide production were also posted to YouTube. Each is a heartfelt thank you to veterans, including those currently serving.
Arnovich spent about 15 hours on the project, with Williams as her mentor.
“It was a fun and challenging task to work with other college students and my mentor to create a finished product. I had never been a part of something like this and the real-world experience was beneficial to my learning,” Arnovich said.
She also spoke with her peers in the classroom setting at SHS about her project and was able to volunteer at a Red Cross blood drive.
Safely gathering the footage during the pandemic was the biggest challenge for the teams. It involved contacting people virtually to get authorization and then gathering the footage. Arnovich said the experience gave her a direct connection to local businesses and leaders.
“The senior project requirements have helped to prepare me to make decisions on my career choice and college goals,” she said, and it has been fulfilling to give back to the community.