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Veterans and those still serving honored at Wells Elementary School

posted Nov 16, 2016, 8:24 AM by Michael Richards
On November 10th, a day before this year’s Veterans Day, Wells Elementary School held its annual Veteran’s Day K-4 assembly to honor local veterans and those still serving in the military.  

Numerous veterans attended this year’s event and were introduced and recognized before a large gathering of students and staff.   First grade students, who made flags earlier to display, presented the vets with certificates of appreciation.  Multi-age third/fourth grade students presented them with personalized cards.  

Several guests spoke about what Veterans Day means to them including Army Major Shane Maxon, Commander of the 20th Special Forces, Charlie Company, and veterans Roger LaPlante (U.S. Air Force) and John Primerano (U.S. Army).   Assistant Principal Ken Spinney also took a few moments to read aloud the names of many area service men and women deployed overseas during the upcoming holiday season. 

The WHS Band and Color Guard performed and the Wells-Ogunquit Webelos Cub Scout Troop demonstrated the proper technique for folding the America flag.  They also explained what the folds of the flag represent. 

Others students who participated in the assembly included Nolan Motter (who explained the meaning of the Star Spangled Banner), Chloe Madsen (the meaning of playing Taps), Molly Tavares and Bobby Lucas  ( answering “Who is a Veteran ?”) and Derek Martin (the importance of gratitude and how there are heroes all around us).  

“They’re a great bunch of kids,” said World War II Army Veteran John Primerano about the students in the assembly.  Primerano, was 19 years old when he made his first combat jump with the 101st Airborne Division.  Primerano served from 1943 to 1946.   

Kin Hamlyn of the Patriot Riders of America Maine Chapter 1 spoke to students about the importance the ordinary household items that they, their parents, and school staff had collected in a special collection that ended the day of the assembly.  These items will be distributed to furnish housing for newly relocated homeless veterans.  According to Marty Crier of WES, six pickup loads of supplies, including furniture, was donated for this cause.

Several members of the Patriot Riders produced a banner that was hung over the front entrance to the school, marched in the assembly and lined the hallway from the school’s gymnasium as students and veterans exited.   

As one might conclude, this assembly not only honors veterans but is a learning experience that aligns with the WES’s Core Values including Respect and Compassion.   An important goal of the assembly is to teach students about the meaning or Veteran’s Day and why it is celebrated and observed as a national holiday.                 

“I think it is important for the kids to get a sense of history and (understand) how we got to where we are as a country,” said Cindi Davidson who served 11 years in the U.S. Army.   “It’s not like getting history out of a book, it’s like meeting people who were there and did things.” 

Larry Wicker, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force in Korea, said that this particular assembly was the best that WES has produced.  “Ken does a good job,” said Wicker of Assistant Principal Spinney who coordinates the Veterans Day K-4 assembly.

Faculty and staff who assisted with the production of the assembly included Marty Cryer, Karen Taylor, Maryanne Foley, Jere՛ Pierce, Suzanne LaPlante-Killoran, Selena Nickerson and Principal Chris Roche.
Wave of flags ahead of assembly
Student made flags greeting guests outside Wells Elementary School on November 10, 2016

WHS student Kiah Holdsworth playing Taps
WHS student Kiah Holdsworth playing Taps at the Veterans K-4 Assembly at WES on November 10th, 2016

Veterans shaking hands with students

At the end of the assembly, students lined up to shake hands with the guest veterans.  In this photo, World War II Veteran John Primerano greets students at the end of the Veterans K-4 assembly at Wells Elementary School on November 10th.  Behind Primerano is Roger LaPlante, a U.S. Air Force veteran.
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