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West Central Middle School Thanks Veterans and Those Who Serve

Saluting Veterans Day

West Central Middle School observed Veterans Day on Monday, November 12, 2007.

Students started learning about Veterans Day the week before in many of their classes. It became an all school cross-curricular project.

Students learned about different wars, wrote letters to veterans in hospitals, made posters depicting a certain veteran or branch of the service, wrote poems, experienced eating MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat), exhausted themselves in a day of boot camp training, entertained veterans as guest speakers in many of their classrooms, and finally, heard Donna Butler tell the heroic story of her father, Captain Bobby Dunlap.

Captain Dunlap, after saving many lives at Iwo Jima went on to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

These experiences enabled West Central students to better understand the sacrifices made daily to provide us with the freedom we enjoy today.

On Monday morning, the Middle School conducted a special Veterans Day Ceremony. The Henderson County American Legion Post #765 honor guards opened the program by presenting the colors.

The West Central High School band under the direction of Mr. Dan Potts, played the Star Spangled Banner as Mrs. Joanne Hilligoss led the audience in the singing of our National Anthem.

Mr. Jeff Nichols, principal, welcomed everyone to the program and told our guests what the students had been doing the week before to prepare for this special day.

Six of West Central's 8th grade students portrayed soldiers from WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraq War by wearing uniforms donated from the Henderson County Museum.

WWI was Austin Pullen, WWII was Danny Moore and Hannah Brueck, Korean War was Graham Gerst, Vietnam was Cody Colvin, and Iraq and Desert Storm was Ethan Bigger.

Zachary Zeilstra, Michael Clark, and David Hammitt, scouts of Troop 61, lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to our American flag and then Mrs. Lynn Zeilstra explained the symbols for the folds of the flag.

Mr. Potts directed the band in the playing of The Armed Forces Salute. Veterans were asked to stand as their service song was played.

After watching a video entitled "A Tribute to U.S. Veterans," the Middle School Chorus sang "Land That We Love." Mrs. Lindsey Williams, a 7th grade Science teacher whose husband is in the military, read an emotional poem entitled "A Soldier."

The H.S. band, M.S. chorus, and M.S. Faculty gathered to perform "The American Heritage" while Mr. Ralph Grimm narrated.

Gretchen Higgins, student council co-president read "The Story of Taps." Eric Hilligoss and Tyler Anderson played the moving rendition of "Echo Taps."

American Post Legion #765 then retired the colors.

The Middle School organizers were very excited this year as around 100 veterans and guests attended their 2nd Veterans Day program.

After the program servicemen and veterans were invited to gather in front of the 8th grade students' display of the wars for a group photograph.

As you can see by the picture, there were around 50 veterans who were photographed. Many voiced their appreciation to the Middle School for their tribute and for remembering them.

After the program, everyone was invited to the cafeteria for an informal reception of visiting and refreshments.

West Central Middle School 8th Grader, Ethan Bigger stands before one of the displays of the various wars during ceremonies prepared by West Central 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students and staff.

Gretchen Higgins gives a reading of the meaning of TAPS.