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WHES Students Recognize Veterans Through Song and Celebration

“The veterans are coming!” said a student at Woodmen Hills Elementary School as she eagerly peered down the school’s hallway. She was joined by her classmates who were holding signs for those who served and currently serve in the U.S. military. The “American Walk” parade was part of Veterans Day activities Nov. 11 hosted by staff and students.

Veterans were invited to the school to attend a musical performance and participate in the walk. “It’s like a parade, but you are our parade,” said Sherese Taylor, counselor. “Welcome home. We so graciously want to thank you for your service.”

Students lined the hallways holding signs with phrases like “thank you” and “go USA”. Handshakes, high-fives and smiles were exchanged as the veterans filled the schools foyer and began to walk down the school’s hallways. Afterwards, they were invited to join their families for coffee and cookies in the cafeteria.

“It brings back a lot of good feelings about serving,” said Greg Smith, Air Force veteran. “I appreciate it.”

“They did a great job,” said Ashley Dunning, who is currently serving in the Air Force. She praised the students work in creating the signs they displayed.

Over 150 fourth grade students performed in a concert, singing songs like “Spirit of America” and “Thank You to Our Soldiers”. They performed a military service song medley, where those serving were asked to stand when their branch’s song was played. Melissa Ellenberger, music teacher, explained that she also taught students the history behind each branch. “We’re such a big military town, and it ties in with their history standards,” she said. She started teaching the military service songs to students after 9/11 when she was a teacher in Connecticut.

She further explained that music is intrinsic to ceremonies, and Veterans Day is no different. “When don’t we have music in a celebration?” she said.


 Fourth grade students perform in a Veterans Day concert.


Fourth grade students perform in a Veterans Day concert Nov. 11 at Woodmen Hills Elementary School in District 49. Over 150 f


Fifth-grader Natalie Bishop, 10, helps with Veterans Day


Air Force Veteran Greg Smith and Kathy Pickering, principal, participate in an “American Walk”.


Ashley Dunning participates in an “American Walk”.


Lt. Col. Chris Fernengel participates in an “American Walk".


Kayla Maldonado