Wreaths Across America Passes Slowly By WJHS

Post date: Dec 24, 2013 2:39:42 PM

‘Wreaths Across America’ made a slow pass by Wells Junior High School on Monday, December 9, 2013 on its long journey from the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine bringing over one hundred thousand wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery and other places where they will be placed at grave sites of U.S. Military Veterans. When the convoy passed by WJHS it was greeted by hundreds of students and staff who lined both sides of Route 1 between WJHS and Ocean View Cemetery.

Each December for the past seven years, this convoy of tractor trailer trucks, motorcycles, police and other vehicles has made a stop at Wells Junior High School on its trek to the Washington, D.C. area. In the past, convoy members have been able to stop at the school for refreshments and take part in a brief ceremony honoring veterans at Ocean View Cemetery with staff and students.

Although the convoy could not stop this year at the school because of logistical reasons, WJHS continued the tradition of holding a ceremony to honor veterans at Ocean View Cemetery. At the event there was an honor guard and members of the Knights of Columbus in attendance. WJHS Principal Chris Chessie made welcoming comments and introduced many who attended. Local living veterans were acknowledged, taps was played by Wells High School student Jacob Lareau, and wreaths were placed at six (time period) monuments by junior high students.

In addition, local eighth grade winners of the Patriot’s Pen writing contest were honored. Those winners included Madison Szczygiel (1st place), Estelle Reardon (2nd), and Leah Tufts (3rd).

“It’s our opportunity to demonstrate to kids how important this mission is about honoring our veterans, and remembering people who have fallen,” commented Principal Chessie.

“Wreaths Across America is a teaching opportunity outside of the classroom and it is a way for us to honor and give back to some people,” said Chessie.

Photo caption: Receiving awards for placing in this year's Patriots Pen Essay Writing Contest are (l to r) Madison Szczygiel (1st place), Estelle Reardon (2nd place), and Leah Tufts (3rd place). The essay topic was "What does patriotism mean to you?" Ken Kingsley of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (at right of the students and reading) is presenting the awards to the students. To Kingsley's right is WJHS Principal Chris Chessie.