WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Two Watertown students have been named finalists in a national challenge saluting our veterans. This is called the Army Educational Outreach Program’s “We Heart Veterans” Pin Design Challenge, which tested students from across the United States on their 3D design skills.

Case Middle School’s Technology Department accepted the challenge and allowed students to use “Fuse,” a software company out of Northwestern University that provides STEAM Labs to classrooms. The Middle School also brought in soldiers stationed at Fort Drum back in November to teach students about the importance of Veterans Day. From there, students put their creativity into action.

Thousands of entries were submitted to the challenge, but only ten were named finalists. Case Middle School’s Reagan Meade and Dominique Rimmer are on the list. “We’ve done this project for many years, and these are the first two students,” Technology Teacher Brian Wilson said. “I couldn’t think of two better students to be chosen for that and I’m very proud of them.”

Reagan designed a flower-shaped pin that incorporated red, white and blue, as well as several words that she uses to describe veterans. “The reason I chose a flower pattern is to show all the components of ‘brave,’ fierce,’ and ‘noble,” she said. “When they come together it makes our country.”

Dominique’s design featured a gold star surrounded by the phrases “Thank you, veterans,” and “We love veterans.” But he said his inspiration was personal. “Because of Fort Drum right nearby, you see people in the military all over,” Dominique explained. “My dad was also at Fort Drum.” Both pins will be 3D printed and distributed to veterans that visit the National Veterans Memorial Museum in Columbus, Ohio.

So, although at first this may have seemed like an ordinary classroom project, Reagan and Dominique hope their messages will now touch the hearts of many veterans across the U.S. “Our veterans deserve to be appreciated,” Reagan expressed. “And we have to show how much we really do appreciate them.” “I was really just thinking about how to show veterans how thankful we are to have them,” Dominique added.”

Each pin can be viewed on the Army Educational Outreach Program website. The “We (Heart) Veterans Pin Design Challenge will name winners at the beginning of April. These students will win a trip to Colimbus to attend a special event at the National Veterans Memorial Museum next year.