WCSD honors veterans through recognition events, lessons

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All across Westerville City Schools, students, teachers and staff are celebrating Veterans Day by honoring those who served with class visits, assemblies, recognition events and other activities on Friday. Here are some of schools’ efforts:

Veterans Day recognition dinner at Westerville South High School

Westerville South High School veteran recognition dinner

Westerville South High School's student council hosted a recognition dinner for members of Westerville VFW Post 7883. The student organization first launched the dinner in 2019, connecting students with the people who lived the history they are talking about in their classes. Veterans from all military branches who served in various military conflicts attended the dinner, including a 96-year-old who fought in World War II. 

During Monday's event, the VFW recognized student council co-advisor and science teacher Lauren Sefton for her devotion to her community, her school and her students.


Veterans Day presentation at the Early Learning Center

Preschool veterans day recognition program

Veterans from various military branches joined Suzanne Kile, principal of the preschool program at the district’s Early Learning Center, during presentations to morning and afternoon preschool students. Kile shared details about the visitors, many of whom were dressed in uniform, and talked about the significance of the day. Students wore paper crowns with messages supporting and thanking veterans.


Veterans reception at Westerville Central High School

Westerville Central sophomore greets veterans with a bagpipe performance.

Westerville Central High School hosted a breakfast reception for staff members who are veterans as well as the school’s Purple Star students who are connected to the military. WCHS student Brody Alexander performed the bagpipes during the reception.


Veterans visit Westerville North High School

Veterans visit Ben Hartnell's class

Westerville North High School students in history teacher Ben Hartnell’s class connected with local veterans, learning more about their service and asking questions about Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and other military campaigns. Veterans brought photos, videos, uniforms and other materials for students to see.

“My role as a history teacher and my role as a functioning member of society is to help keep the stories of the veterans alive,” Hartnell told students. “There is great significance to remembering the past and getting to know the stories of those who came before you.”

The school recognized those who served in a special morning announcement where they honored staff members who are veterans, read a war poem by WWI physician and soldier John McCrae and a moment of silence in honor of fallen veterans. 

Several teachers integrated Veterans Day lessons in their classes. 


Veterans Day Assembly at McVay Elementary

McVay receives Space Force flag

U.S. Space Force Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Hayman, who is also a parent at McVay Elementary, served as the keynote speaker for McVay’s school-wide Veterans Day assembly — its first one since the start of the pandemic. 

Hayman presented Principal Jason Fullen with a U.S. Space Force flag to hang in the school. The assembly also included performances by the Pioneers Student Choir, speeches from students on the significance of Veterans Day and recognition of veterans and those still serving in the military. 


MREs at Emerson Elementary 

Emerson students taste MREs with military vets

John Metzger, an U.S. Air Force veteran whose son is a first-grader; U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Ryan Watson whose daughter is a second-grader; and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Bret Dixon, whose sister-in-law is an Emerson teacher, prepared Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE) for Emerson Elementary students to sample. 

All three, as well as Emerson Principal Chris Poynter, dressed in combat uniforms while preparing the self-contained meals and answering students’ questions. The meals included a variety of items such as an entree, side dish, crackers, peanut butter/cheese spread, dessert, and a heater to heat the main entree. 


Former teacher and veteran returns to Walnut Springs Middle School in Veterans Day presentation for sixth-graders 

Walnut Springs former teacher returns to talk about his military service

Former Walnut Springs Middle School teacher and veteran Gary Brusco returned to the wolf pack to speak to sixth-graders on Veterans Day. The students are part of the sixth-grade Shadow Pack team with social studies teacher Jeffrey Holmes, English Language Arts teacher Nicole Hatcher, math teacher Maria Soisson and science teacher Pete Wegley.

Brusco, who taught at Walnut Springs for 31 years, served as a Field Artillery Officer in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from 1969-1970. He shared his experiences of enlisting in the military and the Vietnam War and answered questions from students, who were appreciative of his service to the country and for taking the time to speak during the school’s Flex period. The visit tied into lessons within the classroom.  


Veterans Day Assembly at Wilder Elementary

Wilder students welcome family members connected to the military

The Wilder Elementary community honored those who served with an assembly that featured a song performed by all students. Students, teachers and staff welcomed families who are connected to the military during the event and celebrated them with a reception afterwards.