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Monday May 20, 2019 at 3:30pm Age: 91 days
Category: Intermediate, District


MVIS fifth-graders in Rosemary Marcolina’s class hosted a ceremony honoring local U.S. veterans on Thursday, May 20, ahead of Memorial Day commemorations. They were joined by family members, school and district administrators and staff.

A 25-year tradition in Mrs. Marcolina’s classroom, preparations for the annual event begin two months in advance. Divided into several committees, each with a dedicated chairperson, students are assigned responsibilities for different aspects of the ceremony.

Alyssa Redd had roles in five committees and chaired one of them. “I’m really excited to present to the veterans and hear about their stories--and that my mom and dad are coming,” Alyssa said.

Every year, fifth graders present the veterans with letters, poems, drawings, and musical performances, as well as a drive of food and personal-care items to benefit soldiers and families served by Castle Point Veterans Hospital.

Among his many important jobs, Gregory Gibbs chaired the Food Pantry Committee and was proud of the generous collection of non-perishables and toiletries donated by classroom families. “I’m really excited about all the presentations we have to honor the veterans and I brought some old coins to share with them afterwards,” Gregory said.

Ferrah Hill chaired the Poetry Committee and played important roles in delivering event invitations to school and district offices. “We have been preparing for this day for very long and I’m really excited it’s finally here. Our orchestra is sounding really good,” Ferrah said. “I think it’s really important that we pay our respects to those who have lost their lives and those who fought for our country.”   

Guest veterans shared their service stories with their hosts, ranging from the rigors of active duty and wartime hardships, to humorous experiences. They also passed around service and wartime photos and memorabilia.

Representing the American Legion George Smith Post #1607 in Unionville, Art Olah, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, highlighted this year’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the American Legion. He also told the story of George Smith whose photograph loomed large in a corner of the classroom.

“It’s very important for kids like us to understand what our veterans have sacrificed for us and to tell future generations about them,” said Raymond Sosler who wore his Boy Scouts uniform for the occasion. 

Raymond’s grandfather was one of six visiting veterans with grandchildren in Mrs. Marcolina’s class. The youngest guest veteran is a martial arts instructor to several of the students.

With the help of class parents, students decorated their classroom, hallways and staff lounge with patriotic themes. Following the ceremonies, students guided their guests to the staff lounge where they were treated to a plentiful brunch.

“We thank our honored guests for taking the time to share their stories of service and for inspiring our students,” Mrs. Marcolina said.