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Leighton Students, Staff Host Veteran’s Day Appreciation Assembly

Andrea Gills and Grace Gills embrace their grandparents, Jane and Earl Smith, both of whom were honored with dozens of other veterans during the recent Veteran's Day assembly at Leighton Elementary School.
Andrea Gills and Grace Gills embrace their grandparents, Jane and Earl Smith, both of whom were honored with dozens of other veterans during the recent Veteran's Day assembly at Leighton Elementary School.

OSWEGO – Students at Leighton Elementary showed their patriotism in action during a recent school assembly where they honored three dozen community veterans.

First grader Miya Sheldon pretends to be a member of the U.S. Coast Guard as she tries on a uniform during one of the Veterans Day rotations at her school.
First grader Miya Sheldon pretends to be a member of the U.S. Coast Guard as she tries on a uniform during one of the Veterans Day rotations at her school.

With the help of their teachers and Principal Kara Shore, the entire student body expressed gratitude to each veteran for sacrifices they have made to defend the nation and its people.

Principal Shore, who also is a veteran, emceed the event alongside sixth grade teacher and fellow veteran James Hartmann, who encouraged all students to thank all veterans.

Each guest marched into the school gymnasium to a crowd of cheers, thunderous applause and a sea of tiny American flags.

Together, everyone recited the Pledge of Allegiance before students performed “America the Beautiful.”

Thanks to the technology department at SUNY Oswego, each honored veteran received a patriotic wooden coin as a token of appreciation.

Guest speaker Mayor Billy Barlow lead the students in grades pre-kindergarten through six in a “Thank you, veterans” cheer before each grade level sang the songs of each branch of service.

Andrea Gills and Grace Gills embrace their grandparents, Jane and Earl Smith, both of whom were honored with dozens of other veterans during the recent Veteran's Day assembly at Leighton Elementary School.
Andrea Gills and Grace Gills embrace their grandparents, Jane and Earl Smith, both of whom were honored with dozens of other veterans during the recent Veteran’s Day assembly at Leighton Elementary School.

Oswego High School Principal Patrick Wallace, a veteran and former member of the U.S. Army Band, then played “Taps” as Leighton students and staff members closed their eyes and held their hands near their hearts.

All guest veterans, including Oswego City School District Board of Education member Samuel Tripp, lined up at the end of the ceremony so each student and teacher could shake their hand, or give their special guest a hug, before they returned to class.

“Thank you for your service!” one intermediate student said.

Following the celebration, classes took turns doing various rotations in the gymnasium, such as a physical fitness challenge, Veteran’s Day coloring sheets, a question and answer session and trying on Coast Guard uniforms.

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