OSWEGO, NY – The entire Leighton Elementary School student body turned out Thursday to honor several local veterans – many of whom were their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers.
Members of the school’s student council escorted the very special guests to their seats. The students and family members then applauded the veterans.
Kara Shore, principal at Leighton, helped facilitate the program. Jim Hartmann, a fifth grade teacher at FLS, was the ceremony’s MC. And, school board members Sam Tripp and Tom DeCastro also took part in the school’s program. All four are veterans.
The students learned what is a veteran and ways to thank veterans.
Members of various classes took part in saying the Pledge of Allegiance (lead by the student council) and singing patriotic songs.
The children who had a veteran visiting were presented with a flag pin by Principal Shore.
The students then went and presented the pin to their family member.
Members of different classes sang each branch of the armed services’ song.
The youngsters learned about each branch of the service and what it does.
Guest speakers included:
• Army – Vicki Smallidge
• Marines- SGT Turner
• Air Force- Kelly Sheffield
• Coast Guard- Jacob Scott
• Navy- Eric Zumwalt
• Service Organization – Veterans of Foreign Wars – Al Wood.
Sheffield also explained about Team RWB, a community group that supports veterans
A special guest speaker was Colonel Ben Richardson. Many of the young students might be taking economics class from him in a few years at Oswego High School.
He explained about being away from family, the weight of Army equipment and more.
If any of the young students thought they had what it takes to serve their county, the colonel advised them to stay fit and stay in school.
Later, in classrooms, students were able to experience MREs, exploration/demonstration (conducted by classroom teachers).
The library was transformed into a museum featuring several military artifacts and information.