Carroll County Public Schools students and staff across the county observed Veterans Day last week with a variety of special programs and lessons.
The school system said that many schools had planned special activities “to honor our veterans and make students aware of their service and sacrifice for our country.”
Among the events and projects was a window mural created at Sykesville’s South Carroll High School, a veterans coffee talk, special breakfasts and dinners, guest speakers, and art projects.
At West Middle School, students wrote thank you notes and made handmade treats for veterans. Staff at Winfield Elementary School collected money for veterans organizations by participating in “Jeans for Troops,” while the Winfield PTO created an American flag display in front of the school and honored staff members who are veterans or active duty military.
At Mount Airy Middle School, Friday began with a veterans breakfast.
Penny Snader, a humanities teacher, said she has coordinated several in-school Veterans Day celebrations but this was the school’s first year that included a Wall of Honor. The wall featured military badges, medals, gas masks, parachutes and pictures forming the shape of an American flag.
“I wanted to bring a sense of respect back,” Snader said, “and appreciation. More than anything, to give thanks for all that [veterans] have done for our country, to protect us.”
American flags were on display to promote patriotism at the middle school and students were asked to wear red, white and blue clothing Friday.
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Snader said she hopes her efforts help students to reflect about the sacrifices made by those who serve and their families.
At Friendship Valley Elementary, special educator and veteran Brad Cole made himself available to talk with students about his military experience. He began discussing his service and displaying military artifacts several years ago for the holiday.
Teachers at the elementary school have an open invitation to bring their classes to visit Cole, and Cole said he talks to a majority of students on Veterans Day.
Cole served in the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, including a 2005 deployment to Iraq in which he was responsible for motor transport. He said he made use of the G.I. Bill after serving to pursue his passion for education. Since 1944, the federal legislation has helped qualifying veterans and their family members get money to cover all or some of the costs for school or training.
“You [serve in the military] because you love it and you want to serve your country,” Cole said. “It feels great when that’s recognized and appreciated, and that’s why I do the display and talk about how there’s people serving our country. It’s nice to recognize them and say thank you for doing that.”
The veteran said his display has been well supported by the school and well received by students.
In additional to Cole’s display of artifacts, a Wall of Honor at Friendship Valley features student-decorated paper cutouts of poppy flowers to represent veterans who have died and hearts to represent living veterans.