Heritage Middle School pupils stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance with a military Honor Guard.
Veterans’ Day programs were held at a number of buildings throughout the Westerville City School District on Friday, November 10, and Monday, November 12. Westerville North High School, for example, hosted its second annual Veterans’ Day assembly, which featured, among other things, a flag folding ceremony. The band, choir and orchestra performed patriotic songs and a film about our military heroes was shown. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria attended the ceremony. Veterans were presented with tokens of appreciation for their service, which were made by engineering students in the school’s SHOP. Many stayed afterwards to speak in classrooms. Social Studies teacher Jennifer Walpole organized the event. History teacher Dr. Ben Hartnell had his pupils create the annual “Price of Freedom Wall” outside of his classroom, which was adorned with 5,000 stickers, each representing 134 U.S. soldiers killed in action (670,000 total) since the American Revolution.
Heritage Middle School staff and students honored veterans in a respectful and meaningful assembly held on Friday, November 9. It was led by science teacher and retired Army Captain Marty Wicks. The eighth grade band, directed by Christopher Kuhn, and the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade choirs, led by Kimberly Marcum, performed patriotic selections. A beautiful a Capella rendition of the National Anthem was sung by eighth grade pupil Camryn Lois. Students collected and presented care package items to members of the Marine Corps Family Support Community. Prior the assembly, students and staff provided pictures of family members who have or are currently serving, which played as a backdrop throughout the ceremony as a way to thank them for their sacrifices. Eighth grader Allie Kotik paid tribute to her brother, Jacob, a former Westerville City Schools student who is currently serving in the United States Marines; and Principal Dru Tomlin read a letter of thanks to his father who served as a Colonel in the Marines. Several fathers and grandfathers of the students, as well as members of Westerville American Legion Young-Budd Post 171, came to share their heroic stories.
Wilder Elementary families and students celebrated Veteran’s Day with an assembly led by the pupils. The children greeted invited families and veterans at the door, escorting them to their seats. Simon Zewoldi led the Pledge of Allegiance and other students (Nimesh Acharya, Marley Rhinehart, Allie Morrison, and Jannat Alam) presented their essays about What is a Veteran? Fifth grade teacher Lynn Holland explained the White Table exhibit. The veterans and their students each came forward and introduced themselves. The assembly concluded with the Wilder student body singing Thank a Vet and giving the veterans a standing ovation. Amy Hudson, Michele Bertus, Lynn Holland, and Elizabeth Wolfgang helped organize the assembly. The Wilder Elementary School K-Kids, advised by Lynn Holland and Kiwanis member and parent James Minter, hosted a reception for the veterans and their families after the assembly, when each was presented with a student-written acrostic poem.
These activities are representative of what took place throughout the Westerville City School District to honor our veterans. Many other schools participated as well.