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Wolcott School Pays Tribute to Veterans

Students sing "My Country Tis of Thee." Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Schools throughout West Hartford held special Veterans Day celebrations on Nov. 11, and Wolcott Elementary School dedicated its town meeting as a tribute to veterans in the community.

Teacher and veteran Eric Feeney instructs the Cub Scouts in proper flag folding technique. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

The atmosphere in the Wolcott Elementary School auditorium was electric Monday afternoon, as the school community gathered for “town meeting” to give an energetic tribute to veterans in the community.

Music played, students sang, and students read aloud tributes to veterans that they had written just for the occasion.

Principal Scott Dunn recognized more than a dozen veterans, reading aloud their names and branches of the service  – including several who served during World War II – who joined the students and teachers Monday for the special Veterans Day event.

Third grade teacher Eric Feeney, a former U.S. Army National Guard medic (1996-2004), presented the students with a challenge: making their beds every morning for a month. It’s something that is important to soldiers, and that small task, Feeney said, will lead to more accomplishments and will serve as a symbol of being respectful and responsible, two of the character traits the school emphasizes.

Sgt. Karen Taylor, a veteran who is also the grandmother of a Wolcott student, was guest speaker Monday. She explained that while in the U.S. Air Force she drove trucks, buses, and forklifts.

“Thank you for allowing me to keep y’all safe when I was there, and I would do it all again today,” Taylor said.

A video was shown, from the aunt of several students and other members of the service who are serving overseas sending a “hello” to the Wolcott students.

A “writer’s spotlight” featured poems about veterans, read aloud by nine student authors.

Feeney led a group of Cub Scouts in the demonstration of proper technique for folding the American flag. He said there is a lot of similarity between the military and scouting, and when Eagle Scouts join the military they are automatically one rank higher. Each precise step has special meaning, he said, and the No. 1 rule is that “the flag should never touch the ground.” The 13 triangular folds represent the thirteen stripes for the 13 original colonies, and also represent life, veterans, country, armed forces, soldiers, mothers and fathers, and those who have served. When the flag is properly folded, only the blue should be showing, Feeney said.

A parade of students exhibited their gratitude for veterans by saying thank you in their native languages – languages that included Cantonese, Urdu, Japanese, and Polish.

To close out the day’s festivities, fifth grade teacher Jennifer Stanish, who is also the current West Hartford Teacher of the Year, sang “American the Beautiful.”

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Principal Scott Dunn. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

 

Student Council president leads the Pledge of Allegiance. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans in the audience were asked to stand. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Sgt. Karen Taylor, a veteran and grandmother of a Wolcott student, was the guest speaker. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Wolcott teacher and former U.S. Army National Guard medic Eric Feeney. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Students sing “My Country Tis of Thee.” Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Fifth grade teacher Matthew Dicks. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Cub Scouts demonstrate flag folding. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Cub Scouts demonstrate the proper way to fold the American flag. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A Cub Scout celebrates after folding the flag. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans stationed overseas sent a video greeting to students. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Emcees Cindy Tran (left) and Noor Sayej. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Emcees Noor Sayej (left) and Cindy Tran. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Students read tributes to veterans. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Students line up to say thanks in their native languages. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Saying Thank You in Japanese. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Students thanked veterans in these languages. Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Teacher of the Year Jennifer Stanish sings “America the Beautiful.”Veterans Day Ceremony at Wolcott Elementary School. Nov. 11, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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