Despite it being a relatively gloomy and rainy day, Highland Elementary School students turned out in full force on Wednesday, Nov. 11, in order to honor the Town’s most revered residents.
While Veterans Day is typically observed by a variety of events throughout the state, because of COVID-19 concerns, many had been canceled or rescheduled to accommodate social distancing requirements. However, Highland School Principal Scott Jeffrey had a different idea — one that didn’t involve canceling the school’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.
“We normally have this large event in the building and do a whole walk-through parade, but obviously we were unable to do that this year,” he said. “We had to make a few adjustments, but overall we are happy to be able to continue recognizing this day.”
Highlands oldest students — 4th through 6th graders — lined the parking lot in front of the school, holding homemade signs and waving American flags for the veterans who were in attendance. The parade was led by Highland Boy and Girl Scout troops, who held the American flag throughout the entire event.
“It was really cool to see all the kids lined up and waving. It definitely makes you feel good,” said Mark Minton, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force
Before the walk-through parade, the Highland Elementary School orchestra, conducted by Marlane Fitzgerald, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the veterans and their families.
After the parade, Jeffrey addressed the crowd outside and explained the long history of Veterans Day in America.
“We want to thank the veterans who were able to come out, along with their families, for allowing us to honor you on this special occasion,” he began. “… I want to make sure it is not lost on our students how important our veterans are.”
“I want you all to make a promise that you will pay attention to our veterans,” he continued. “Learn about Veterans Day by reading books, proudly fly the American flag at home, ask a loved one about their time in the service, reread the Constitution of the United States, so that you too can be involved in the appreciation of Americas heroes…”
The Assistant Principal of Highland, Erica Bordonaro, then read off the names of the veterans who were in attendance, and allowed for each to be recognized for their service.
The magnitude of the event was not lost on the guests of honor, many of whom were humbled to be recognized.
“This is just a really nice thing that they do,” said Glenn Felton, a veteran of the U.S. Army. “It’s such a cool thing — it’s so important for the kids, and the fact that they were able to still get something nice done for us during a pandemic is just great.”
The event ended with light refreshments for the veterans and their families, all provided by the Highland School PTO.