Students across Olentangy Local Schools honored past and present U.S. servicemen and women during Veterans Day activities held throughout the district.
At Shanahan Middle School, eighth-grade students participated in a Veterans Day celebration connected to an interdisciplinary project in their Social Studies and English classes. The students interviewed veterans to gain a better understanding and respect for the service they provided. Each student then created a product that showcased the veteran’s journey. The projects were placed on display in the school gym and the participating veterans were then invited to the school to be honored during a Veterans Day celebratory breakfast. One hundred and twenty-one veterans attended the event, which featured music performed by the school’s choir and band as well as a moving keynote speech provided by General John C. Harris. Veterans and students mingled as they explored the gallery of student projects on display.
Olentangy Liberty High School held a student assembly featuring guest speaker and U.S. Marine Sgt. Shane Parsons, an Iraqi war veteran who lost his legs and suffered a brain injury when the Humvee he was driving struck an improvised explosive device in 2006. Parsons’ visit was made possible by the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization founded a decade ago to assist this generation’s wounded veterans. Parsons told of his experiences in the military and how the Wounded Warrior Project has helped him to recovery and begin to live a normal life. He is now an assistant football coach at his high school alma mater in northwest Ohio. He also is relearning how to read and he and his mother serve as spokespersons for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Olentangy Liberty High School’s (OLHS) DECA program has a history of supporting veterans issues by way of Honor Flight and the Wounded Warrior project. The DECA program has conducted numerous fundraising events since 2008 which have resulted in the OIentangy Liberty community contributing more than $40,000 to Honor Flight Columbus and $6,300 to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Orange Middle School’s annual Living History Day featured 90 veterans this year. The students shared breakfast with the veterans before recognizing their service to the country during an Honor Assembly. Organized by Orange Middle School teacher Nancy Poliseno, the assembly featured a flag folding ceremony, student poems and a remembrance table ceremony in recognition of POW and MIA soldiers. The students also heard from Executive Director of Academics Mark Raiff before the assembly concluded with a recognition of veterans during which each veteran stood and declared which military branch they served in and when. Following the assembly, students gave gifts to the veterans and got the chance to talk with them about their lives and experience in various classrooms throughout the school.
Meanwhile, students at Cheshire Elementary School created posters honoring the veterans in their life. They were encouraged to include a photo or a drawing of a veteran they know and love. The school’s clinic aides spearheaded the activity and hung posters as a “Quilt of Honor” in the school’s main hallway.
Veterans Day activities were also held at other schools in the district, including at Olentangy Liberty Middle School, where students heard from a guest speaker from the military, and at Tyler Run Elementary School, where students presented veterans with a small gift they made.