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Friday, May 27, 2011

A Memorable Day

The elementary school learners and staff collaborated on producing their 12th annual Memorial Day Program yesterday morning in the Heatly gymnasium. The elementary student council and their advisors have accepted responsibility for recognizing Memorial Day assembly. It was a terrific balance of information and entertainment that focused on the purpose and importance of the holiday. The event featured songs, poems and narratives, plus the presence of several local veterans who were honored for their service to our country. In addition, each of the elementary learners received a patriotic red, white, and blue cap.

The ceremony began with a video that emphasized the meaning of our pledge of allegiance. This was a vivid reminder of the need to avoid taking our freedom for granted. It provided children with a better understanding of the words that they routinely recite each morning at school. The elementary chorus then offered a rousing rendition of the national anthem. Following that song, local veterans in attendance were introduced and recognized. The names of other veterans were read aloud as well.

The 4th graders presented an acrostic poem that suggested different ways to remember the meaning of Memorial Day. The second grade then sang the Woody Guthrie song, This land is your land... as a resounding expression of our national pride. The sixth grade learners were next and they read a timeline of significant points in the evolution of our flag, from inception to adding stars as states joined the nation. Following a student council member providing a history of the song, the first graders enthusiastically sang, Grand Old Flag. The Kindergarten learners then marched up to the stage and delivered the song Yankee Doodle with gusto and volume after one of the members of the student council explained the history of the song. The student council read a poem entitled "What Heroes Gave" before the third graders delivered readings on, "What a veteran means to Me." That led to a smooth transition to the next presentation, a poem read by two students, Take a Moment to Thank a Veteran. This last poem was accompanied by a video saluting veterans for their sacrifices. The final element of the ceremony was supplied by the elementary chorus when they sang, In Flanders Fields."

The event was very special for a number of reasons. The intent and tradition of the show remains significant, but beyond the presentation itself, the courtesy and attitude demonstrated by the children as audience members was impressive. The program was approximately an hour in duration yet the children were attentive and responsive. This is a testament to not only the behavior of the children but the supervision of the staff. Everything combined to produce a memorable Memorial Day celebration at Heatly.

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