Dozens of family members attended a Veterans Day luncheon Nov. 11 at Remington Elementary School in District 49.
With rotations covering kindergarten through fifth grade, students filed into the school’s gymnasium for lunch with a friend or family member. Each class performed patriotic music and offered statements of solidarity and gratitude for those who served.
Roughly $300 in door prizes were given away. Donated by local businesses, they included dinners, movie tickets and sporting goods. Participants also gathered for family portraits.
Third-grader Jasmine Frink, 8, won a dinner at Red Lobster. Mother Keyshawn Frink, an Army spouse, sent text messages with a photo of Jasmine holding her prize. With her husband’s upcoming reassignment, it was their daughter’s last day at the school.
“From the principal down to the teachers, and the counselors, they’ve always been here to help her get through transitions and deployments,” said Frink, who attended each of the school’s Veterans Day luncheons over the past four years.
“My kids love it,” she said about the community event.
“They meet and can talk with other military kids.”
Now in its fourth year, the event is an important tradition, according to assistant principal Susan Ancell. Watching parents mingle in their Army and Air Force uniforms, she says it leads to many military children forging new, supportive friendships.
Fourth-grader performances were supported by Airman 1st Class Jamie Teachenor, lead vocalist for the U.S. Air Force Academy Band. Teachenor used the students' microphone for a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner.”
At 17 years old, Teachenor was performing on the radio in Arkansas. He moved to Nashville at 21 to pursue his interests in country and rock music. He became an award-winning, multiplatinum singer, songwriter and producer. He has worked with artists Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Vince Gill, Warrant, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and rock-n-roll legend, Jerry Lee Lewis.
After moving to Colorado last year, he was soon tapped by the Denver Broncos for performances on Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. He was scheduled for a Thanksgiving weekend performance, Nov. 27.
“It’s such a great military community,” said Teachenor, while sharing a meal with his second-grade daughter. He says the luncheons help military families connect, and children relate.
“I can feel how the teachers reinforce a real love for our country,” he said. “The children start learning and performing patriotic songs early — it’s one of my favorite things about this school.”