The Greenfield Exempted Village School District each year for Veterans Day honors veterans through different programs across the district. While this year’s programs looked different because the traditional gatherings weren’t possible, each building of the district found ways to show appreciation to those who have fought for freedom.
At Buckskin and Rainsboro elementaries, music teacher Victoria Mikkelsen recorded students singing. She did so in a manner that allowed students to space safely apart. Then, one-by-one, she recorded students off by themselves who had speaking parts so they were able to take off their masks and be heard more clearly.
The whole thing is similar to past programs, she said, but since the traditional programs could not be safely done this year, this was the next best thing.
The local AmVets provided a flag, among other items for students, Mikkelsen said, and a DVD will be made for the organization so that members can watch it.
“I’m so excited we get to to this this year,” she said, adding that continuing the programs, pandemic or not, is important in not only helping students understand what Veterans Day is all about, but in honoring veterans for their sacrifice.
Mikkelsen said the video was to be watched by students on Veterans Day, and it is posted for the public to view. Check the Buckskin Elementary and Rainboro Elementary Facebook pages on Nov. 11.
At Greenfield Elementary, music teacher Brett Wilson last week began preparing for Veterans Day by introducing the students to the story behind “The Star Spangled Banner.” Additionally, his second and third grade classes took part in “a body percussion echo activity inspired by military marching cadences,” he said.
The same activities were planned for Veterans Day and included U.S. military songs, the explanation of taps, and an American medley video that includes veterans returning home from service. Additionally, Wilson led a group of students in singing the “The Star Spangled Banner” during morning announcements.
Also at Greenfield Elementary, art teacher Cathy Rivas has been working with each grade level on Veterans Day-themed projects.
Greenfield Elementary Principal Bob Schumm and assistant principal Lindsay McNeal visited classrooms and read aloud to students, and also engaged students in other activities to help them learn about Veterans Day.
While the pandemic and safety concerns have put some traditions on the shelf at Greenfield Middle School, like lunch with veterans and meeting and talking with veterans, years-long traditions that could be honored this year were. Those traditions include stars created by students through the years, including incoming sixth graders, each bearing the name of someone who has served in the military. The stars are hung on the windows and through the halls. A door decorating contest was also held this week. Throughout the halls are also items that have been crafted by students, past and present, to honor veterans.
A $5 jean day fundraiser for teachers was also held, with all money raised going to the Greenfield Concerned Veterans. Additionally, Bukowski said some of the new sixth graders have brought in names and pictures of family members who have served in the military.
McClain High School’s program was created by the McClain Cadet Corps. A video was posted to share in students’ academy classes on Veterans Day and is available for the public to view, Master Sgt. John Wilson said.
“The life changing events imposed by COVID-19 have certainly brought about many challenges,” Wilson said. “While the results of the virus are sometimes tragic, the challenges are opportunities for growth. From an instructor’s perspective, my cadets are finding ways to adapt to the challenges, and ultimately overcome them. Our Veterans Day salute is one example.”
While the traditional assembly for Veterans Day was not possible, Wilson said the cadets decided to do video segments, which were edited together so the whole could be shared virtually with the school and the public. “The lessons learned in the process made the cadets better leaders and will serve them later in life,” Wilson said.
The cadets also participated in a Veterans Day observance at American Legion Post 14 on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. where they performed a firing party — a team of seven cadets each firing three volleys.
To view each school’s video, go to the Buckskin Elementary and Rainsboro Elementary Facebook pages, as well as the McClain High School Facebook page. The videos are also available on the district website at greenfield.k12.oh.us.
“Veterans Day is always a special time in our district when staff members and students stop to show appreciation and respect for our veterans,” superintendent Quincey Gray said. “It has always been a time to reflect on the sacrifices that our veterans have made. This year we are doing the same, even though in order to protect our veterans, we must do it differently.”
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent of the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.