By Kathryn Menue


Throughout the week of Monday, Nov. 7 through Friday, Nov. 11, Belvidere School District 100 celebrated veterans by hosting a wide range of activities. Meehan Elementary was no exception, hosting a full day of events for veterans on Thursday, Nov. 10.

The festivities began in the morning with veterans reading stories to the children at 10 a.m. From there, veterans sat and ate lunch with students from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

At 1 p.m., the day ended with a Veteran’s Day assembly honoring the local veterans who have given so much for their country.

After students and faculty members crowded into the gymnasium, holding up signs, and waving their American flags, the assembly began with VietNow presenting the colors as the children sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Throughout the assembly, the children sang patriotic songs and two students even performed “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Event organizer and Vice Principal Kristine Frank said the Marine Corps donated $500 to Meehan Elementary for showing such great respect to veterans. Frank said the monetary donation will be used toward honoring veterans at future assemblies.

The Marine Corps donation fit perfectly into the 2016 Veteran’s Day assembly theme since Nov. 10 is the Marine Corps’ birthday.

In honor of the Veteran’s Day/birthday celebration, Wendy’s Corporation donated a stub for a free frosty for everyone in attendance at the assembly.

To continue highlighting the Marine Corps, Frank honored two staff members who served in the Marine Corps by giving them presents she bought at the Marine Corps museum when she went on the Honor Flight in August to Washington D.C.

Not just the Marine Corps was honored on Thursday, Nov. 10. Meehan Elementary played each branch of the military’s theme song and had veterans from each branch stand when they heard their song. Student volunteers announced and held signs for each branch to ensure equal recognition for all.

Meehan Elementary went above and beyond just recognizing veterans for their bravery and courage in the line of duty.

Rockford University third grade student teacher, Tegan Humphry led a community service project for the school where students collected necessity items to donate to the Veterans Drop In Center in Rockford for homeless veterans. The school collected over six carts worth of items for the homeless veterans.

Roe Dilley, of the Veterans Drop In Center, accepted the donation on behalf of the center.

“I about fell over when I came in the gym and saw all that you did,” Dilley said. “You should be very proud of yourselves.”

As a yearly tradition, Meehan Elementary always sends candy overseas to soldiers. For 2016, students donated 193 pounds of candy to be sent overseas.

For the veterans in attendance, students wrote special cards and letters thanking them for their service, which family members presented to them as the children sang: “We Are Thankful for the USA.”

Everyone in attendance felt the theme of thankfulness resonate around the gymnasium.

“This is my favorite thing to do each year [because] it’s an honor to be able to thank the veterans,” Mayor Mike Chamberlain said.

Superintendent Daniel Woestman expressed his pride in the students for showing their gratefulness in such a respectful manner toward all the men and women who’ve served this nation.

“I’m really proud of all of you for the respect you have shown to our visitors today,” Woestman said.

He continued to share with the students that this experience is an honor for them as well so they can get a chance to learn about the men and women who fought for their rights of freedom.

Woestman explained that he was proud of his father-in-law and his two grandfathers who served in the military.

Woestman also shared how he went on a mission trip to East Germany and spoke with families who had lived through wartime when they had no freedoms whatsoever.

This served as a reminder to students that they live in a great land of opportunity due to the sacrifices veterans have made for them.

“I just want to make sure everyone has an understanding of veterans and what they do,” Frank said.

As the assembly ended, veterans and students exited the gymnasium together walking to the beat of “I’m Proud To Be An American” that played throughout the room.

Meehan Elementary School’s dedication was just one of the services Belvidere District 100 held to honor veterans.

Caledonia Elementary School held an assembly on Friday, Nov. 11 for Veteran’s Day. At 8 a.m., they had the Presentation of Arms, Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, and Posting of the Flags by the Civil Air Patrol Color Guard.

Jacob Shadinger, a BNHS student and member of the Children of the American Revolution, gave a speech and read a story to the students.

Several veterans also spoke to the students about their services.

At Lincoln Elementary School, students honored veterans on Friday, Nov. 11 by dressing in patriotic clothing, displaying photos of veterans around the school, and holding a Veteran’s Day assembly at 8 a.m.

Perry Elementary began Veteran’s Day with a veterans’ breakfast at 7:30 a.m.

At 7:45 a.m., Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts performed a raising of the flag ceremony as students recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”

At 8:15 a.m., veterans visited classrooms until 9:15 a.m. where the school traveled to Belvidere Park to witness the VFW Veteran’s Day parade.

At 10 a.m., students returned to the classroom with the veterans who ate lunch with the students and remained on site for Veteran’s Day activities.

Seth Whitman Elementary school had Boy Scouts raise the American flag at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11. Afterward, students engaged in veteran related activities throughout the school day.

Students and staff celebrated Veteran’s Day at Washington Academy by making thank you cards for veterans, engaging in math activities with the flag, watching historical videos, reading stories aloud, completing a scavenger hunt, making poppy flowers, learning the “Star Spangled Banner,” sharing interviews with veterans, and writing about veterans.

Belvidere Central Middle School recognized Veteran’s Day with sixth grade students reading nonfiction historical pieces on veterans and analyzing the significance of the branches of the military. They also wrote letters to American troops. Every grade had veteran guest speakers who shared their military experiences.

Belvidere South Middle School’s Veteran’s Day activities included an Honor Flight unit, which included writing letters to the flights. Students wrote letters to troops, completed a web quest history of Veteran’s Day, and viewed clips of the 50th and 70th reunions of Pearl Harbor.

Also, the band performed in the Veteran’s Day parade.

Belvidere High School honored veterans with an assembly at 2 p.m. Plus, the choraliers presented a special Veteran’s Day concert at the PAC at 6 p.m.

Belvidere North High School honored veterans with an assembly at 2:10 p.m. Staff members serving or who have served were recognized as well as students who will join the military after high school.

The assembly ended with BNHS staff member Mr. Husser sharing his experience about being a veteran.



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