Schools Hold Memorial Day Remembrances

I was so sorry to miss the Georgetown Memorial Day observance this weekend because  I was at home in western MA for the long weekend but I was honored  to attend the Memorial Day remembrance  ceremonies at both the Middle School and Penn Brook Elementary School  this past week. The students and staff did a wonderful job of commemorating the occasion with tributes to our military soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with songs, poems  and their original  research which they shared with their peers  and presented to the Veterans who were able to gather with them.

It was very impressive to see Middle School student Josh Barosin play the Star Spangled Banner and taps on his trumpet after he shared  the history of taps with the audience and to see a group of young female students  proudly  sing ,I Am Proud To Be An American,  in  accapella.   Many of the  students in  the Middle School presented information about the history of Memorial Day and why it is important to remember and observe.  They had clearly worked hard in their social studies classes taught by teachers Ted Schruender and Debbie DiFruscio to put together their brief presentations.  It is great that these teachers made this topic a priority and I was very proud that so many students bravely presented to their peers.  I feel very confident that every student in the audience left that auditorium with a better understanding of the reason we have a day off from school and how they can pay homage to the fallen who fought for our freedom.

The students were joined by three veterans, one of which was Selectmen Doug Dawes who is always dedicated to attending our Veteran’s and Memorial Day observances in the schools and we always appreciate his support!  One of the other highlights of the Middle School ceremony was the guest speaker who is a veteran and lifelong friend of Mr. Schruender.  He did an excellent job of sharing his experience in a way the students could understand and he left them with some key ideas that I am certain they will always remember.  There is nothing like hearing information directly from the source and I thought his comments provided a powerful message of sacrifice, dedication and patriotism.

At the Penn Brook, close to 50 Veterans along with their families joined the staff and students for a moving ceremony that included music, poetry and some of our youngest students performing a beautiful song  using American sign language.  It was hard not to shed a tear or two when Principal Maher led the veterans and their families into the gym to the band playing proudly and the entire school community on their feet clapping for their honored guests. Then more tears were shed as each veteran was recognized for their service by having their name , rank and the branch of the armed services in which they served read by Principal Maher and then presented with a paper poppy that was made by the students in the after school program .  These poppies were presented by the children in the school who are relative/s or special friends of each veteran. It was very special and emotional to see them show their appreciation and love to these dedicated veterans who are grandfathers, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts and friends who served our country.  This event has grown every year and has almost gotten to the point where we have outgrown the capacity of our gym to hold everyone who wants to be part of this special event each year. Our plan was to have the ceremony outside but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate but next year that is the plan. In this way, everyone who wants to attend can do so.

I want to thank all of the administrators, support staff  and  teachers as well as the veterans and their families that took the time to help our students understand and recognize the importance of Memorial Day.  There are many traditions that have gone by the wayside in education but I am thankful that this is not one of them. Raising good citizens who appreciate civic responsibilities and appreciate American traditions is part of our core mission and this is one way we can live our values.