The Waverly Park Student Council spent all morning on Nov. 10 recognizing those who served in the US Armed Forces.
Waverly Park Elementary School hosted its annual “Bring a Veteran to School Day” in the gymnasium highlighting 13 veterans who have served in the military. The event was personal to the students as the veterans are family members.
The gym was decorated from wall-to-wall with written pieces from students showing their appreciation for those who have fought and served for the country. Prior to the event, every student in the school worked on activities to transform the gym into a celebration for veterans.
“We assigned the whole school three activities,” said Shari Bowes, a student council moderator. “Smiles for veterans, the wall of piece, and then the silhouettes.”
The event returned in a grand scale after two years of virtual events due to the covid-19 pandemic. This event started in 2011 and has been a tradition every year since.
“Since 2019, this event hasn’t been in this full effect,” Bowes said.
“It was exciting to bring the veterans back and truly honor them,” said Waverly Park Elementary School Principal Allison Campbell.
Some of the messages the students decorated the wall with included thoughtful letters to veterans. Students were given a prompt that said “We honor our veterans because” and they filled out the rest.
“They work so hard for us every day,” Emma Vanderbeek said. “They risk their lives for us every day and they have to leave their family to help everyone.”
Another student, Seratina Sanakian wrote, “Veterans work hard every day just to keep us safe which is why I think we honor Veterans Day.”
Similar messages of gratitude were shared amongst all of the students’ notes on the walls.
“The student council led the whole presentation,” said Courtney Jacobs, a student council moderator. Members of student council took turns speaking at the podium to show their appreciation towards the veterans.
“We are here today to honor our veterans,” said Shannon Emory Student Council Vice President. “Every student at this school created a brick and on this brick they shared their thoughts about Veterans Day as well as why we commemorate our veterans with a national holiday.”
The “bricks” were small pieces of paper taped to the wall after the students wrote on them about their thoughts on Veteran’s Day.
East Rockaway student Maddy Gross ushered in a tribute for the veterans toward the end of the ceremony. “This golden flower is a token of our thanks for everything you’ve done for us and our country,” Gross said. The veterans received flowers from their family members.
Along with decorating the walls and giving flowers to the vets, students also preformed songs with the fifth grade chamber singing “Proud to be an American” and the student council asked everyone in the gymnasium to sing along. After the song was over, students were dismissed with one veteran to bring to their classroom.
The student council members took veterans in and out of classrooms to answer questions from the students. The veterans shared stories about their time serving in the military. Some brought their own mementos to show to the students.