Veteran's Day school events pay tribute to those who served
New Canaan Public Schools honor our service men and women with district-wide programs on Veteran's Day
On Veterans Day this year, New Canaan Public Schools honored our veterans with special programs taking place throughout the district. Veterans visited schools as guests of honor, many spoke to students, and special assemblies, programs, and music performances honored their sacrifices, contributions and achievements.
East School hosted its annual Veteran’s Day Assembly, at which more than 30 veterans - all family members of East School students - attended as honored guests. East School Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (pictured in photo on right) presented the Color Guard and led the Pledge of Allegiance. East School students sang songs from each branch of the Armed Forces, along with other patriotic songs and presented hand-made cards they made to each veteran.
West School’s annual Veteran’s Day Celebration honored veterans around the world. Christopher Cogswell (pictured in photo on left), an Army veteran and special education teaching assistant from Saxe Middle School, addressed students and faculty. He spoke about “uncommon valor” and how being in the army changed the way he celebrates Veteran’s Day forever. 4th grade students prepared questions to help the younger students understand the importance of this special day. Students dressed in red, white and blue, learned how to “salute” and “stand at ease” and sang patriotic songs.
South School held its annual Veterans Day Assembly, a long standing tradition and a highlight of the school year that shows gratitude to many veterans who have direct connections to the school community. This year, there were 13 special guests (pictured in photo on right), some accompanied by other family members, who were honored during the program. During the assembly, South student presenters taught everyone who our veterans are, and why we celebrate Veterans Day. The program included the singing of patriotic songs, and South’s kindergarteners presented honored guests with small tokens of gratitude for their service.
Saxe Middle School’s 10th annual Veterans Appreciation Day (pictured on left) began with the Saxe band and chorus students performing a welcoming medley of patriotic songs in the front lobby. Approximately 30 veterans, who spoke to students throughout the day, participated in this year's event. These included Police Chief Leon Krolikowski and NCPD Officer Christopher Dewey. A Marine Military Desert Humvee was parked at the front of the school, courtesy of John Lettera, Corporal, U.S. Marine, Desert Storm, 1989-1995.
Saxe’s HOPE Club organized a candy drive for Operation Gratitude and collected Halloween candy during lunch periods for two days after Halloween. “The response was amazing,” said school library media specialist Monica Sheehan, who organized the day’s events with Mona Biondi, the school’s other school library media specialist. The candy was dropped off to specified Operation Gratitude locations and will be sent to troops overseas. During lunch, students made “thank you” cards and letters which will be sent to the West Haven Veterans Hospital and the New Canaan Veterans Homebound Human Services Program. “It was a great day,” said Sheehan.
At New Canaan High School, students conducted interviews with Marine Colonel Nicholas J. Sheppard (pictured center, in photo on right) who served in WWII, Korea and through most of the Cold War, and Army Captain John Engel who served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and throughout much of the 1990’s. The interviews were part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and were produced and recorded by several NCHS U.S. History students, with cooperation from the TV Broadcasting program and NCHS faculty member Michael Staffaroni.