On Wednesday, November 10, Glen Hills Elementary School, students and families participated in a heartfelt Veterans Day celebration honoring the loved ones of Glen Hills students who serve or have …
On Wednesday, November 10, at Glen Hills Elementary School, students and families participated in a heartfelt Veteran’s Day celebration honoring the loved ones of Glen Hills students who serve or have served this country.
During the morning event, which was attended by the entire student body, veterans and their loved ones were treated to performances by the Cranston East JROTC, the Cranston West Falcon Band, and the Falconettes Precision Dance and Flag Teams. In total, 45 veterans joined their students at the celebration.
During an indoor reception, snacks, coffee, and drinks were served, and vets and their families were able to take photos in front of a patriotic backdrop. Fourth graders Sean Hanlon and Victoria Wikiel then read poetry honoring the sacrifices made by our armed forces. The Cranston East JROTC processed outdoors with an American flag, the flag was raised for the crowd, then music was performed by both the Falcon band and Glen Hills students.
Glen Hills music teacher Ruth Moran worked for about a month teaching the entire school two patriotic songs, one of which was performed using American Sign Language. All students were given small flags to wave during the ceremony.
Col. Dennis Perrino, accompanied by his granddaughter, 4th grader Ramona Perrino, enjoyed snacks together prior to the outdoor presentation. Col. Perrino, who served over 28 years in the Army, has attended in this event in the past. He explained that he really enjoys all the school does to honor veterans. Perrino wore full military dress to the event, adorned with several medals including a Purple Heart.
Principal Jay DeChristofaro explained that this is the third non-consecutive year the school has honored its veterans, as the program was unable to run in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To me, it’s all about connections,” DeChristofaro said. “It’s connecting the students to patriotism – our country – and it’s connecting students to history.”
But more importantly, DeChristofaro explained, that after all the challenges of the past year, his priority for his community is increasing in-person connection. He said he and the staff of the school are focusing on as many family and community-based events as possible, “to try to get some of the spirit back.”
The event is organized by the school’s parent-teacher organization, which he says has been instrumental in creating an enjoyable and ever-improving event.
Immediately following the ceremony, some of the veterans remained at the school to visit and speak to students in their classrooms. Principal DeChristofaro also visited classrooms to read The Wall by Eve Bunting.
DeChristofaro, who appeared visibly moved by the event, called it “very successful.”
“It’s the biggest one yet,” he said. “We’ll have to match it next year.”
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