On the morning of November 8th, approximately thirty veterans came to Andover Elementary Middle School for a special assembly.
Every year the students and staff honor local veterans. Invitations are sent to local veterans in early fall. The planning then begins in all classrooms.
American Legion Post #101 paraded the colors to begin the assembly. AEMS faculty members Alex Ager, Sarah Edmunds, and Molly Kidane sang the National Anthem. The Kindergarten classes then led the audience members in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Eagle Code. This was followed by eighth grade students: Garrett Niemyer and River Turnbull, who sang “America the Beautiful.”
Principal Jane Slayton welcomed the veterans and talked about the specialness of the assembly and the importance of teaching students to honor and remember the men and women whose selfless sacrifices ensured the freedoms enjoyed today.
Sixth grade students Oliver Andrews and Brice Bendixsen played violin and keyboard while Delaney Young, Norah Carlson, Nick Horbert , Violet Kraft-Lund Marley, Dylan Hammond, Ashley Neuberger, and Trinity Delaney sang “My Country Tis of Thee.”
Morganne Budgett and Maura Kelly, eighth grade students, shared a reading of appreciation for the veterans. Maura thanked the veterans for answering the call to duty. She also thanked their family members. Morganne thanked the veterans for attending the assembly and said, “God Bless you and your families. God Bless our troops and God Bless America. Thank you veterans.”
Guest speaker Mr. Percy Hill then spoke with the assembled group. He had fun with the students while delivering a serious message. He remembered his Navy days and had the students jump to their feet and salute throughout the program. Mr. Hill’s message was well received by both the younger and older members in the audience.
First grade classes then took the stage to teach about the importance of poppies and showing their art work. This was followed by fifth grade classes who recognized all the military branches. The students shared facts about each branch followed by a patriotic song. Audience members stood for their song.
Arienna Perry, a seventh grade student, impressively recited “They Did Their Share.” This was followed by “I Will Stand” sung by the second and third grade classes. The whole audience was singing by the end of the song.
Mr. Bill Leber and American Legion Post #101 ended the ceremony by recognizing Mrs. Irene Jewett as a Gold Star Mother. Mrs. Jewett came forward and accepted the honor. This was an emotional moment for all and students were appropriately touched by the significance of this honor.
American Legion Post #101 retired the colors and all veterans and their families were escorted to the Eagle Cafe for refreshments. The eighth grade students served the veterans coffee, juice, and baked goods while listening to their stories.
Almost all of the classes contributed artwork for the occasion. Centerpieces for the tables in the Eagle Cafe were made by seventh grade students. Thank you letters and cards for the veterans were provided by fourth and seventh graders. The patriotic artwork in the lobby, gym, and Eagle Cafe was contributed by many.
Veterans Day continues to be a favorite day at AEMS and plans are already underway for next year. If you know of any veterans new to our area, please call our school so that we can include them on our mailing list.