Veterans Day was celebrated last Friday, Nov. 11, and all across the Central Bucks School District, the students of high schools, middle and elementary schools each celebrated Veterans Day in their own way. VFW Post 175 of Doylestown is a huge supporter of education in the district and ensures that as many schools possible are visited.
I was honored to have attended two ceremonies which were both well done and heartfelt for the veterans and their families who had attended.
At Buckingham Elementary, Principal Karl T. Funseth continued the long tradition of former principal, Peg Solitario.
As veterans entered the school, they were escorted by “ambassadors” to grade 5 and 6 classrooms. About 35 veterans attended this year, an increase from last year.
In those rooms, a panel or four to six students sit with the veterans and ask questions of all sorts. From “What did you eat” to “How did your family react to you going away to war," these students were engrossed in the conversations of their interviewee. Many veterans bring artifacts and pictures to show the children and they are very receptive and it often spurs additional questions not on their prepared list.
After visiting two rooms, the vets are escorted to the auditorium for additional ceremonies. The children sing patriotic songs, a slide show is given, each military service is recognized and each attending veteran is introduced. If a veteran has a child who is a student in the school, the students introduce their mom, dad, grandpop, etc. It is a ceremony that I have attended for six years now and each year is just as rewarding.
At Kutz Elementary, the ceremony is similar and Principal Jeanann Kahley demonstrates her caring for the veterans with a similar ceremony.
This year, Korean veteran Ed Krensel was the guest speaker. Ed spoke of his time in Korea but his main focus was to instill in the students a need for perseverance and how important it is in attaining your goals in life.
Principal Kahley was recently honored by VFW Post 175 of Doylestown as Elementary Teacher of the Year for her efforts to instill in the students of Kutz the need to always remember what veterans have done to preserve our freedoms and liberties and to never forget their sacrifices.
At Tohickon Middle school, the past commander of VFW Post 175, Jim McComb, delivered his presentation to five classes. Jim speaks of the military, his service in Vietnam and other veteran-related topics. He has been doing this for a few years now and enjoys it as much as the students.
At Central Bucks East High School, the tradition of Veterans Day continued. Mrs. Ginny Kownurko continues a tradition at East with a morning assembly. Attendees and students are entertained with the fantastic music of the school band. Each military organization is honored with its own song and the audience is addressed by both principal Lucabaugh and Mrs. Kownurko. I have had the honor of speaking at this event two years ago and it was a great experience. This year’s speaker was the VFW Post 175’s education chair, U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran Rich Scott. In the words of Mrs. Kownurko, "The kids really get it when someone takes the time to explain it as Rich did."
Mrs. Kownurko also was honored as High School Teacher of the Year last spring. She has been an advocate of veterans and was a great force in the "Wall of Honor" project at CB East. This wall honors all students and faculty who have served our country. It also honors the one alumnus who lost his life in Iraq, Colby Umbrell. A list of all members of this wall can be found at http://www1.cbsd.org/schools/cbeast/activities/oeg/Pages/WallInductees.aspx
Many other schools in the district celebrated the day, as well. It is important to instill in the students the importance of service and what these veterans have sacrificed to maintain the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy.
VFW Post 175 has been a force in ensuring the students of Central Bucks are involved in these programs. Two of these programs are essay contests which provide an opportunity for scholarships and other honors. Each fall, the “Patriots Pen” and “Voice of Democracy” contests are a part of the education programs of the VFW. Information can be found at vfw.org.
The local Doylestown VFW Post 175 also provides two $1000 scholarships to one student from CB East and CB West. Information can be found at http://vfwpost175.org/
VFW 175 feels that is important to keep the young involved in these activities and thanks to all of our members and our never-tiring education chairman, Rich Scott, these activities will continue for a long time.
A big thank you needs to go out to all of the principals and staff of our school district for allowing our organization to be a part of this very special day to all vets.