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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Students at Ruskin High School Thursday pledged to get serious about their education by dedicating the next school year to our military. In a special assembly, a group of students told veterans: “Because you sacrifice for our nation, I am serious about education.”

Teens are the first students across the nation using social media and the website to make this pledge.

STOOTS stands for: Students’ Theater of Operations, the School. The idea behind it is for students to make a commitment to study that’s on the same level as the sacrifice men and women in the military make. As part of the campaign, veterans are honored at school assemblies and rallies now and when the new school year begins in the fall.

Military veterans also will make surprise visits to schools to make sure kids are holding up their end of their pledge.

“It has made me more serious to make sure that I’m making my grandfather proud. I’m making my mother proud, everyone who looks after me and up to me proud,” said Jerica Palmer, a graduating senior. “You never know who’s watching you is what I always tell people and you have those little siblings or those little kindergarteners that see high schoolers and they want to be like us. They feel like we’re doing something with our lives.”

National educator Carl Boyd is organizing this campaign, and encouraged students to make the pledge face-to-face with those who have served our nation. He’s also encouraging students to develop a theme song for the campaign with the winning version selected for recording.

Students like Palmer are dedicating their efforts in the classroom through extracurricular activities, good attendance or by helping a classmate. They can also put forth extra academic effort in honor of a relative who served in the military.