Byline: Kaylea Berry/Reporter
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma – Ernest Childers Middle School hosted its annual Veterans Day assembly to show its appreciation for Veterans and invited Muscogee citizen veterans to speak to the students on Nov. 15. Roughly 1,000 students, staff members, guests, and veterans in attendance for the event. The students wrote letters for the veterans, learned about patriotism, and built a valor wall.
Muscogee citizen veterans that spoke during the assembly included U.S. Air Force Veterans Kaylea Berry and Grover Wind, U.S. Army Veteran Jim Chalakee, and U.S. Marine Corps and Army Veteran Charles Melton. Each veteran briefly shared their military time and what it meant for them.
Leighanna Davis, Childers Middle School Principal, said, “By having Mr. Grover Wind and the other speakers share their experiences serving in the different branches of the United States Armed Forces, students were able to learn about the impact the Muscogee Nation has had not only in Oklahoma but in the United States.”
All 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students wrote thank you cards to the veterans during an Advisory class. This class is not for a grade but helps students relate school activities to outside events.
In Mrs. Debbie Romo’s 8th grade Language Arts class, students read the novel “Nothing but the Truth” by Avi, learned about the “Star Spangled Banner,” used poems such as Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag” to learn annotation, and learned how to fold the flag and what each fold represents.
“Nothing but the Truth really gives me a chance to spend time with the kids discussing patriotism and what it means to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth,” Romo said. “These activities provide them with ownership of our flag, anthem, and country.”
The Junior National Honor Society helped set up and clean up for the Veterans Day assembly and is responsible for putting up the Wall of Valor every year. The wall displays a star with a veteran’s name, rank, student’s name, and relationship to the student.
“There is just something about seeing a family member’s name on that wall that makes us all stand a little taller,” said Romo. “Even as old as I am, it gives me such a sense of pride to see my family members’ names up there all year.”
Childers Middle School leadership class, sponsored by Mrs. Williams, worked with the Blue Star Mothers to raise items for troops. Romo said that the students did a great job gathering items to donate.
According to the Blue Star Mothers website, their mission is “We are mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or children who are veterans. We support each other and our children while promoting patriotism. Our organization focuses on our mission every day and will never, ever, forsake our troops, our veterans, or the families of our Fallen Heroes.”
More information about the organization or donations can be found at www.bluestarmothers.org.