On Friday morning, November 10th, the students and staff of Race Brook School in Orange held a special Veteran’s Day assembly to honor the men and women in the military who have served their country. The assembly and the activities afterwards were diligently planned and organized by the directors of the school’s Student Council: JoAnne Escandon, Pam Galatioto, and Janet Greenspan. The assembly organizers and school principal, Mike Gray, began the assembly with a special thank you to all the parents, students, and staff who worked on putting together the assembly. Student Council was also able to donate over $500 in donations for Homes for Heroes, an organization that raises donations to help heroes of our nation save on a home and on home-related purchases.
The veterans were sincerely impressed with the warm welcome and very attentive behavior of over 400 elementary students during the hour-long assembly. The majority of the attending veterans were relatives and friends of the school’s families. A striking and poignant onscreen MS PowerPoint presentation displaying photos of the veterans with identifying captions and apropos lyrics playing in the background touched the hearts of everyone in the audience and brought tears to many eyes. The children sang well-rehearsed songs to pay tribute to the veterans during the assembly. They also wrote heartfelt poems and letters of gratitude and handed them out to their guests during the assembly. Marea L., a fifth grader, states, “It’s important to honor veterans because they are selfless and brave and fought for us to be free and to be able to live beautiful lives.”
The veteran guests were further honored in the classrooms after the assembly where they had the opportunity to share their backgrounds in serving our country and answer questions for students. Many of the veterans shared treasured memorabilia of their service, including uniforms, medals, and scrapbook photos. The veteran guests had the opportunity to continue their conversations in a continental breakfast reception provided by the Student Council and held in one of the school’s classrooms. The guests were very touched by the school’s efforts to acknowledge all of the veterans as patriots and heroes who showed courage and strength and made many sacrifices for the freedom of our country.
Fifth grader Neva A. feels, “It’s important to celebrate veterans because they fought for our country and were willing to leave their families and sacrifice their lives for us and for our country.”