There are many ways to support the heroic efforts of military soldiers abroad and at home. For some, paying tribute comes in the form of writing letters, donating supplies to soldiers and military families and raising funds for wounded vets who need medical assistance. For others, honoring vets is about making a statement.

Help your students support the troops this Memorial Day with this project-based learning activity. Here’s how:

Opening Activity

Watch a Channel One News video depicting one teen’s plan that honors military families.

Check for Understanding

  • What was Victoria Cannella’s idea for giving back to veterans and their families? What inspired her to give back in this way?
  • What are some other ways you might show support for veterans and military families this Memorial Day?

Student Activity

With a partner, read through the list below of suggested ways to support our troops this Memorial Day. Visit the websites (Note: External Links) to learn more about each idea. Together, select one idea that you’d consider participating in this Memorial Day. Write a paragraph explaining your choice and why you think it’s a good idea.

  • Here’s a great way to help the families of service members and wounded soldiers. Through Operation HomeFront, you can send the troops a care package  loaded with essential goodies (visit the website for suggestions), volunteer at a local center, or raise funds right in your community that will support the work that Operation HomeFront does.
  • Support the troops’ humanitarian efforts with Operation Crayon. AdoptaPlatoon and Army soldiers serving in Bosnia founded the project in 1999. Military units adopt needy schools or orphanages in places such as Bosnia, Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo and provide them with much needed supplies. You can lend a helping hand by sending winter clothing, toothpaste, toothbrushes and school supplies. So, check out the website to see just how much your future care package will be appreciated.
  • Help those serving overseas phone their loved ones back home by donating to Cell Phones for Soldiers, an organization that gives troops prepaid calling cards. You can donate cash or old cell phones and/or phone batteries that are then recycled and sold for money to buy.
  • Donors buy gift certificates that can be redeemed by troops’ families at various stores. Donate at Commisscries. com.
  • The Fisher House organization provides inexpensive lodging  for families of injured service members. To help, you can volunteer at your local Fisher House.
  • You can make a difference at home by volunteering your time and compassion with a Veterans Administration hospital. It is a great way to tell a veteran, “Thank you for your service.” For more information, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • One detail that many troops often overlook is what to do with their pets while they are away. This is where you come in. You can take their pets into your home through an organization called the Dogs on Deployment.  Military personnel are matched with caring foster homes that will look after their pets until their safe return.
  • Teen Shauna Fleming started a campaign to collect a million “Thank you” letters to send to forces around the globe. She and a team of volunteers collect and sort the letters, CDs and DVDs to send to the troops. To learn how you can help, visit A Million Thanks.

Closing Activity

Take a class poll to determine which plan most students would like to participate in. Launch a class or school-wide initiative to enact the plan and generate support for our troops this Memorial Day.

CANTON, Texas (AP) — Nearly 50 people were taken to hospitals after a tornado hit a small city in East Texas on Saturday, including one with critical injuries.

Powerful storms swept through Canton and nearby areas about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Dallas, leaving behind a trail of overturned vehicles, mangled trees and damaged homes.

ETMC Regional Heathcare Systems hospitals in the area received at least 47 patients following the storm, including one person in critical condition, spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley said. She said a handful of other patients were en route Saturday night, though none with life-threatening injuries.

Several tornadoes were reported in the area, but only one tornado has been confirmed so far as having touched down in Canton, National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Fox said.

The extent of the damage in the area wasn’t immediately clear. But video from local television stations showed uprooted trees and overturned cars along rural, wet roadways, along with at least two flattened homes. The tornado flipped pickup trucks at a Dodge dealership in Canton and tore through the business.

A dispatcher at the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office said officers were chasing numerous injury reports and declined further comment.

Local resident Ernestine Cook told WFAA-TV that she rushed to a storm center just in time.

“It hit so hard, so fast. It just kept moving,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it after 22 years of living here.”

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A hacker claims to have followed through on a threat to release several episodes from the upcoming season of Netflix’s hit series “Orange Is The New Black.”

The hacker, who goes by the name The Dark Overlord, announced the move on Twitter early Saturday. The post included a link to an illegal file-sharing service where purportedly 10 episodes from the series’ upcoming fifth season were available for download. The Associated Press could not legally confirm the authenticity of the uploaded files.

New episodes of “Orange” are scheduled for official release on June 9. Pirated copies of the series’ episodes could dent Netflix’s subscriber growth and the company’s stock price. A spokeswoman for the video streaming service declined to comment on the release of the episodes Saturday.

Earlier, Netflix said that a small production vendor that works with several major TV studios suffered a breach. The Los Gatos, California, company described it as an “active situation” that’s being investigated by the FBI and other authorities.

The Dark Overlord had been demanding that Netflix pay an unspecified ransom in exchange for not releasing the episodes prematurely online. In a statement online Saturday, the hacker noted that Netflix had remained “unresponsive” to the ransom request.

“It didn’t have to be this way, Netflix,” the hacker wrote. “You’re going to lose a lot more money in all of this than what our modest offer was.”

The hacker claims to have stolen other series from Netflix and other studios, including ABC, National Geographic and Fox. The Dark Overlord promised to also release titles from those other networks unless “modest” ransoms are paid.

Rumors of a massive leak of Hollywood films and TV episodes have been circulating online for months, fed by purported screenshots of the footage and a copy of a proposed deal to delete the stolen material in return for tens of thousands of dollars in electronic currency.

When the AP contacted The Dark Overlord in February, the hacker said the purloined video wouldn’t be made publicly available after all, making the far-fetched claim that “no one really (cares) about unreleased movies and TV show episodes.”

It’s not clear what triggered The Dark Overload’s renewed ransom demands.

Netflix is counting on “Orange” to help it add 3.2 million subscribers from April through June. That’s substantially higher than the company’s average gain of 1.8 million subscribers in the same period over the past five years.

Whenever Netflix’s quarterly subscriber gains fall short of management’s projections, the company’s stock usually plunges.

———

Associated Press writers Alex Veiga in Los Angeles and Raphael Satter in Paris contributed to this story.

In this day and age, the young and beautiful live and die on social media.

And it’s been a sudden and ugly death for the ill-fated Fyre Festival, a multiday music, art and culture party that promised “an invitation to let loose and unplug with the likeminded” on the Bahamian island of Exuma.

The festival’s rise and fall has played out in real time on YouTube and filtered through Facebook, where would-be party goers are putting their anger on display. Instead of photos of boozy good times, people have posted pictures of rows of white tents that look like “Stormtrooper helmets,” blue port-a-potties near half-constructed plywood structures and limp, lifeless cheese sandwiches.

Organizers canceled the event at the last minute after poor planning, disorganization and lack of accommodations. Most of the A-list acts had pulled out days before, saying they hadn’t been paid.

It was supposed to be a sun-soaked experience filled with yachts, gourmet food and models. Ticket prices ranged from $500 to $12,000.

But by Saturday morning, the partygoers had decamped, many of them to hotels in Miami in hopes of salvaging a weekend. People decried the festival accommodations as being like a “disaster tent city” and a “refugee camp.”

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism says it’s deeply disappointed.

“Hundreds of visitors to Exuma were met with total disorganization and chaos,” the tourism office wrote in a statement to the media.

Fyre Festival co-organizer Billy McFarland promised full refunds on the festival’s website Saturday.

“We will be working on refunds over the next few days and will be in touch directly with guests with more details. Also, all guests from this year will have free VIP passes to next year’s festival,” he wrote.

The hype began months ago, marketed with slick videos on social media.

“I saw it on Instagram and booked it before the lineup was announced,” said Mitch Purgason, a 25-year-old bespoke menswear designer in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Instagram ads looked especially “ridiculous” — parlance for amazing — what with models like Gigi Hadid and rapper Ja Rule. Blink-182 was supposed to perform. Photos of the impossibly blue water and the sugary sandy beach looked incredible. What’s more: Wild, docile pigs lived on the beach and swam in the warm water, perfect props for a killer Instagram selfie.

Although the festival on the island chain east of Florida appeared to cater to the Millennial trust fund crowd, it was people like Purgason and 29-year-old Jake Strang of Pittsburgh who purchased early tickets — young professionals who wanted to spend a fun weekend in the tropics.

Both men paid $500 for a flight from Miami to the island along with lodging and food. Strang and seven of his friends planned the trip to coincide with a birthday. They reserved a “lodge” for eight, with four king beds and a seating area in the middle.

“Everything made it look amazing,” said Strang.

The festival website promised a treasure hunt of “exceptional proportions,” with more than $1 million in riches to be found on a private island.

Purgason said he was skeptical, but planned the vacation anyway.

“Worst case scenario, I figured, we’re still in the Bahamas in a villa.”

His first inkling something was amiss came on Thursday morning, after the first flight from Miami to Exuma. Organizers said the villas weren’t ready, so they whisked the planeload of partygoers to a restaurant at a nearby resort.

It wasn’t a private island at all, but food and drink were free and plenty. Cute pigs and bikini-clad girls roamed the beach. There was a DJ.

“They actually treated us pretty well,” he said. “The first three hours was dope.”

Jenna Conlin, 30, an advertising professional from Venice, California, said, “They were putting down bottles of tequila on every table in an attempt to make everybody happy.”

Strang flew in later Thursday and wasn’t so lucky.

“When we arrived, it essentially looked like a construction site. It looked like they were trying to sell lots for homes,” he said.

A promoter told festival goers to find tents and waved his arm in a direction. But the tents had holes that had obviously allowed rain to come in, because the beds were wet. They were given a Styrofoam container of food: “two slices of ham, lettuce and one slice of cheese on soggy bread,” Strang said.

A few lucky patrons had been relocated to resorts. Most had to find beds in the tents. Available rooms aren’t easy to grab on Exuma, a small island with a population of about 7,000 that lacks the well-developed tourist infrastructure of Nassau or Freeport.

The island’s hotels were already booked months in advance for a well-known regatta, wrote Robert Carron, owner of the Bahamas Tribune newspaper.

By daybreak, people were already lining up to complain, and buses began returning them to the airport. Soon, it was official: The festival was cancelled.

Word got out via social media that organizers said “circumstances out of our control” prevented them from preparing the “physical infrastructure” necessary for the event on the largely undeveloped island.

“I’m heartbroken at this moment,” Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, said on Twitter. “I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was not a scam as everyone is reporting. I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT.”

———

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a hacker releasing stolen copies of a Netflix series(all times local):

11:35 a.m.

A hacker claims to have followed through on a threat to release several episodes from the upcoming season of Netflix’s hit series “Orange Is The New Black.”

The hacker, which goes by the name The Dark Overlord, announced the move on Twitter early Saturday. The post included a link to an illegal file-sharing service where purportedly 10 episodes from the series’ upcoming fifth season were available for download.

The Associated Press could not legally confirm the authenticity of the uploaded files.

New episodes of “Orange” are scheduled for official release on June 9.

Netflix did not immediately return a call seeking comment Saturday.

The hacker had been demanding that the video streaming service pay an unspecified ransom in exchange for not releasing the episodes prematurely online.

———

6:28 a.m.

A hacker claims to have stolen the upcoming season of Netflix’s hit series “Orange Is The New Black,” and is demanding that the video streaming service pay an unspecified ransom to prevent all the new episodes from being prematurely released online.

The hacker, operating under the name The Dark Overlord, has already purportedly uploaded the first episode to an illegal file-sharing service. The Associated Press could not legally confirm the authenticity of that uploaded file.

New episodes of “Orange” are scheduled for official release on June 9.

Netflix said that a small production vendor that works with several major TV studios had suffered a breach. The Los Gatos, California, company described it as an “active situation” that’s being investigated by the FBI and other authorities.

Pirated copies of “Orange” could dent Netflix’s subscriber growth and the company’s stock price.

In this day and age, the young and beautiful live and die on social media.

In the case of the ill-fated Fyre Festival — a multiday music, art and culture party that promised “an invitation to let loose and unplug with the likeminded” on the Bahamian island of Exuma — it’s been a sudden and ugly death, chronicled in real-time on YouTube and filtered through Facebook.

Organizers canceled the event at the last minute after poor planning, disorganization and lack of accommodations. Most of the A-list acts had pulled out of the festival days before, citing a lack of payment.

It was supposed to be a sun-soaked experience filled with yachts, gourmet food and models. Ticket prices ranged from $500 to $12,000.

But by Saturday morning, the partygoers had decamped, many of them to hotels in Miami in hopes of salvaging a weekend. People decried the festival accommodations as being like a “disaster tent city” and a “refugee camp.”

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism expressed its deep disappointment in a statement sent to the media.

“Hundreds of visitors to Exuma were met with total disorganization and chaos,” the tourism office wrote in a statement.

In a statement posted on the Fyre Festival website Saturday, co-organizer Billy McFarland said festival goers will be refunded in full. “We will be working on refunds over the next few days and will be in touch directly with guests with more details. Also, all guests from this year will have free VIP passes to next year’s festival,” he wrote.

The hype for Fyre Festival began months ago, marketed with slick videos on social media.

“I saw it on Instagram and booked it before the lineup was announced,” said Mitch Purgason, a 25-year-old bespoke menswear designer in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Instagram ads looked especially “ridiculous” — parlance for amazing — what with models like Gigi Hadid and rapper Ja Rule. Blink-182 was supposed to perform. Photos of the impossibly blue water and the sugary sandy beach looked incredible. And the veritable icing on the cake: wild, docile pigs lived on the beach and swam in the warm water, perfect props for a killer Instagram selfie.

Although the festival on the island chain east of Florida appeared to cater to the Millennial trust fund crowd, it was people like Purgason and 29-year-old Jake Strang of Pittsburgh who purchased early tickets — young professionals who wanted to spend a fun weekend in the tropics.

Like Purgason, Strang paid $500 for a flight to the island from Miami, lodging and food. Strang and seven of his friends planned the trip to coincide with a birthday. They reserved a “lodge” for eight, with four king beds and a seating area in the middle.

“Everything made it look amazing,” said Strang.

The festival website was also enticing. It promised a treasure hunt of “exceptional proportions,” with over $1 million in riches to be found. It also said the event would be held on a private island.

Purgason said he was skeptical, but went ahead with the planned vacation anyway. “Worst case scenario, I figured, we’re still in the Bahamas in a villa.”

His first inkling that something was amiss came on Thursday morning. Purgason was on the first flight from Miami to Exuma and when they landed, organizers said the villas weren’t ready. So they whisked the planeload of partygoers to a restaurant at a nearby resort. He noted that it wasn’t a private island at all.

Still, food and drink were free and plenty. Cute pigs and bikini-clad girls roamed the beach. There was a DJ.

“They actually treated us pretty well,” he said. “The first three hours was dope.”

Jenna Conlin, 30, an advertising professional in Venice, California, said, “They were putting down bottles of tequila on every table in an attempt to make everybody happy.”

Strang flew in later Thursday and wasn’t so lucky.

“When we arrived, it essentially looked like a construction site. It looked like they were trying to sell lots for homes,” he said.

The festival goers were suddenly told by the promoter to find a tent, and waved his arm in a direction. But the tents had holes that had obviously allowed rain to come in because the beds were wet. They were given a Styrofoam container of food that involved “two slices of ham, lettuce and one slice of cheese on soggy bread,” Strang said.

A few lucky patrons had been relocated to resorts. Most were left to find beds in the tents.

It wasn’t like it was easy to just grab another hotel room; Exuma is a small island with a population of about 7,000, without the well-developed tourist infrastructure of Nassau or Freeport. The island’s hotels were already booked months in advance by a well-known regatta, wrote Robert Carron, owner of the Bahamas Tribune newspaper.

By daybreak, people had already started to line up and complain, and buses began taking people to the airport. It was official: the festival was cancelled. Word got out via social media that organizers issued a statement citing “circumstances out of our control” for their inability to prepare the “physical infrastructure” for the event in the largely undeveloped Exuma.

“I’m heartbroken at this moment,” Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, said on Twitter. “I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was not a scam as everyone is reporting. I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT.”

———

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush