This year’s Veterans Day events across the Greenfield Exempted Village School District will be almost back to normal following last year’s modified programs amid the pandemic.
While last year’s programs were all recorded and shared on social media, this year the Buckskin and Rainsboro fifth graders will get to stand on their school’s respective stages and raise their voices in songs and poems packed with heart and patriotism to honor veterans.
The programs are led by music teacher Victoria Mikkelson.
While a program specifically for veterans will be put on by each school in a daytime performance, others are invited to attend the evening events at each school. Buckskin will host a performance for veterans on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m., then another performance at 7 p.m. the same day.
On Tuesday, Nov. 16, Rainsboro students will host veterans at 1 p.m. for a performance, then do another show at 7 p.m.
Keeping the performances going, even through last year when in-person audiences weren’t possible, is something so important, Mikkelson said previously, to not only help students understand what Veterans Day is all about, but to honor veterans for their sacrifice.
At Greenfield Elementary, students will learn about Veterans Day through activities in their music and art classes, as well as their classrooms.
On Veterans Day, assistant principal Lindsay McNeal will go to kindergarten, first and second grade classes where they will read a story together and then write thank-you letters to veterans. Principal Bob Schumm will visit the third, fourth and fifth grade classes where they will do a writing activity centered around veterans. Students will also engage in special art projects, one of which centers on the meaning behind the poppy flower. In music class, students’ patriotic learning will continue, particularly with learning about, and singing the national anthem throughout the week.
Honoring veterans has already begun in the Greenfield Middle School with decorations going up throughout the building.
While ongoing safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have kept some traditions on hold — like lunch with veterans and students meeting and talking with veterans, an activity that also typically occurs at Rainsboro — other years-long traditions are still being honored this year.
Those traditions include paper stars created by students through the years, each bearing the name of someone who has served in the military. The stars are hung on the windows and throughout the halls. A door decorating contest is being held in the days leading up to Veterans Day.
Throughout the halls are also items that have been crafted by students, past and present, to honor veterans. A $5 jeans day fundraiser for teachers is also being held, with all money raised going to the Concerned Veterans of Greenfield.
While last year’s McClain High School program was by video, this year’s program will be able to be attended by not only students, but veterans and the public. It will be held on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 11 in the new gym and was created by and will be led by the students of the McClain Cadet Corps.
Veterans will start their Veterans Day at McClain High School with a breakfast, and then be escorted through a rifle cordon to their seats in the gym where the middle and high school students will already be assembled.
The program will include speaker Master Sgt. John Wilson, who leads the McClain Cadet Corps; honoring prisoners of war and those missing in action; patriotic selections by the high school choir; and the cadet corps’ rifle drill team.
The public is welcome to attend the program, which will begin around 9 a.m. As it will be in the new gym, those attending from outside the school should note the new gym lobby remains closed due to ongoing construction. However, entrance to the gym is possible from the Sixth Street ramp and the courtyard door near the auditorium’s rear doors.
“It is important to our district that veterans receive gratitude and respect for the sacrifices they have made,” superintendent Quincey Gray said. “We look forward to being able to invite veterans back into our buildings this year so that we can show our appreciation in person.”
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.