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Visit by Dr. Joseph Warren enhances learning experience for students at South Mesa Elementary School

Dr Warren

ST. GEORGE — Author and local estate planning attorney Jeff McKenna, dressed to portray Dr. Joseph Warren, a forgotten Revolutionary War hero, was warmly welcomed into Mrs. Kristie Rindlisbacher’s South Mesa Elementary School classroom this past February 7. Valerie King, a member of Color Country Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, dressed as Martha Washington, with McKenna, a member of Red Cliffs of Zion Sons of the American Revolution, teamed up together to provide a “revolutionary” experience to twenty-five 5th-grade students.

Mrs. Kristie Rindlisbacher welcomes author Jeff McKenna into her classroom. South Mesa Elementary School, February 7, 2024. Photo courtesy of Valerie King, Color Country Chapter DAR.

Weeks leading up to their visit, Mrs. Rindlisbacher, known as Mrs. R by her students, involved her students in a classroom activity by reading McKenna’s novel Saving Dr. Warren….” A True Patriot” aloud. After reading the book, Mrs. Rindlisbacher then tasked her students to write essays focusing on the most significant aspects of the novel from their perspectives. While many students admitted they were unsure about the book initially, they all expressed enjoyment and gained valuable insights, especially about the forgotten Revolutionary War hero, Dr. Joseph Warren.

The students were very excited to meet the author of the book they had just studied and wrote about.  Several students were ready with questions they had written on index cards in advance of his visit.  The students enjoyed pizza courtesy of McKenna as he addressed every question presented to him during his hour and a half visit.

Some students were excited to share excerpts from their essays with McKenna, which set the stage for introducing Valerie King, a former judge of the annual essay contest sponsored by Help Patriotism Prevail, a foundation created by McKenna in 2020.  Both McKenna and King were genuinely impressed by the 5th-grade students’ grasp of the novel’s themes and objective

5th grade student reading an excerpt from her essay aloud to author Jeff McKenna. South Mesa Elementary School, February 7, 2024. Photo courtesy of Valerie King, Color Country Chapter DAR.

At the conclusion of his visit, McKenna quickly shared a musket ball with the students.  For those who have read his novel, this is a key element that triggers time travel back to Dr. Warren’s era in Boston and the iconic events that lead to the American Revolution. The students, aware of the musket ball’s importance in the story, eagerly awaited their turn to hold it in their hands!

As McKenna departed, Mrs. Rindlisbacher handed him several essays written by her students to compete in this year’s annual essay competition.  This contest is open to all students across the nation who have read McKenna’s book and wish to compete. Will there be a winner from Mrs. R’s class?  That question will be answered next month.  Judging will soon be underway, and winners will be officially announced on April 19, 2024.

McKenna’s novel is a proven tool that engages learning while sparking patriotism among young people. 

To exemplify the point, the following are a few examples penned by students from Mrs. Rindlisbacher’s class.

Jeff McKenna and Valerie King visiting Mrs. Rindlisbacher’s 5th grade class at South Mesa Elementary School dressed in their colonial attire, February 7, 2024. Photo courtesy of Valerie King, Color Country Chapter DAR.

One student wrote This amazing book powerfully illustrates the importance of bravery, helping others, and the perilous Road to the Revolution.  I really enjoyed the way the author helped me learn about this important historical topic, and I think it may be one of the greatest books I have ever read.”

Another student wrote “Dr. Warren has impacted my life in many ways.  From this day forward, I am going to help people and my country.  I plan to serve others more and share Dr. Warren’s legacy about his important role as a founding father. Everyone should be aware of the sacrifices he made for our country.”

Help Patriotism Prevail supports educators and students.

The mission of this foundation is to integrate McKenna’s novel into classrooms, serving as a “ready-made” model to assists educators in the teaching of American history in a fun and engaging way while fostering a sense of patriotism among the youth, the future caretakers of our nation.  Financial donors support this America 250! educational initiative by supplying classrooms sets of McKenna’s book and related lesson materials to educators free of charge.   For more information about Help Patriotism Prevail and the tools offered, including details about the annual essay contest, click this link: To learn more about how you can use Saving Dr. Warren… “A True Patriot” in your school or classroom, please feel free to email your questions or inquiries to

Visit by Dr. Joseph Warren enhances learning experience for students at South Mesa Elementary School