Students recognize veterans during special school program

SUBMITTED PHOTO Chatfield Elementary School hosted local veterans Monday, Nov. 11, for a Veteran’s Day program. Members of the VFW and its auxiliary came to the gymnasium and listened to students' tributes.

SUBMITTED PHOTO The Chatfield Elementary School band played for the veterans throughout the observances.

SUBMITTED PHOTO Hudson Lueck reads his essay to the veterans and students.

SUBMITTED PHOTO A poster was made to honor the veterans who came to the school.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Chatfield Elementary School students stood tall and pledged their allegiance to the flag of the United States of America Monday morning, Nov. 11, as the school hosted the Giese-Kelsey Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6913 to mark Veterans Day. 

“It is important for our school to recognize the efforts our veterans have made to protect our great country.  Our students showed great respect to our veterans through band performances, song and the reading of essays,” Principal Shane McBroom said. “Our program is more of a recognition of veterans through our band playing pieces, students singing and listening to essays from our students.” 

This year, students interviewed veterans and provided a short biography of the veterans that they spoke to.  The essay readers for the program were sixth graders Hudson Lueck and Hailey Hammill.

The VFW also held its annual Patriots’ Pen essay contest and those winners were announced during the program. The Patriots’ Pen essay was on “What Makes America Great?” Essay contest winners were Leah Simon in first place, Wyatt Kayfes in second place, and Dani Severson in third place.

The school has typically held its Veterans Day observances at the end of the day, but due to a change in staffing, the program was moved to the beginning of the day, changing how students met their neighbors who are veterans. 

“Our students greeted the veterans after the assembly, and we also had a few visitors to classrooms,” McBroom said. “Joe Chase also comes in and speaks to our students about the Gettysburg Address and The Declaration of Independence.  This is a valuable learning opportunity for our students.”    

The principal concluded that welcoming veterans into the elementary school gymnasium and classrooms is a way to teach students that they are free because of what others have done for them. 

“It provides our students an opportunity to better understand the sacrifices that our veterans make to keep our country and its values safe,” he said.