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Many thanks to our Veterans

by Trinity Gruenberg

    The Verndale School celebrated Veteran’s Day on Thursday, November 9.

    The Wadena VFW post 3922 presented the flags and the high school band performed the National Anthem.

    Superintendent Paul Brownlow opened the ceremony with a brief history from its start as Armistice Day.

    Ruth Clark of the VFW Auxiliary shared the school’s Patriots Pen winners. Tyler Fiskum took first place and received $30; Rebecca Stanley placed second, winning $25; and Madison Schmitz placed third, earning $20.

    Fiskum shared his award winning essay. This year’s theme was America’s Gift to My Generation.

    The high school choir performed We Honor You followed by the awards for the elementary Story of the Statue of Liberty Essay and poster contest winners.

    Addison Neal shared her Voice of Democracy essay with the topic American History: Hope for the Future.

    Her speech was followed by a performance of The Battle Cry of Freedom performed by the high school band. Teacher Katie Bolland and Army veteran shared her Veteran’s Day message on “Core Values”:

    “Good morning! First, I would like to thank all of the service men and women in our audience today. We would not have the freedoms we have today without you and your service and for that I thank you. I would also like to thank Mr. Brownlow for asking me to speak today. I am truly honored to be given this opportunity.

    “Loyalty. Duty. Respect. Selfless Service. Honor. Integrity. Personal Courage. These seven words create the acronym of LDRSHIP and make up the core values of the United States Army. Seventeen years ago, I was learning the true meaning of these words during basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. As I reminisce about basic training and learning the core values, I think about how these values relate to our school and community. As part of the High Reliability Schools initiative within the Verndale School, level one is about providing a safe and collaborative culture within our school. According to Marzano research, a high reliability school, by definition, monitors the effectiveness of critical factors within the system and immediately takes action to contain the negative effects of any errors that occur.” This parallels with the initiative of the United States Army and most, if not all branches of the military. With this initiative comes loyalty and loyalty is the act of believing in and devoting yourself to someone or something. I believe it is our duty or obligation as teachers, administrators, students, and community members to devote ourselves to this school and continue to provide a culture that is welcoming to all. I know I can speak for most, if not all teachers in the building, in saying we take a tremendous amount of pride in the ‘family’ type atmosphere that has been established in our building...

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