“Wreaths Across America” Visits Wells Junior High School

Post date: Dec 10, 2015 12:26:34 PM

Shortly after noon on an unseasonably warm and sunny December 7th, “Wreaths Across America”, a convoy of semi-trailers carrying thousands of holiday remembrance wreaths to be placed at the gravesites of veterans in Arlington National Cemetery and other locations stopped at Wells Junior High School to participate in a wreath laying ceremony with students at Ocean View Cemetery.

Since 2007, this convoy has included a stop at WJHS on its 750-mile, seven-day trek to the Washington D.C. area from Harrington, Maine, where the wreaths are assembled at the Worcester Wreath Company.

According to Morrill Worcester, president of the Worcester Wreath Co. and passenger in the convoy, this trip to the Washington D.C. area marks the 24th such journey begun modestly in 1992 from an idea of Worcester’s (and then with assistance from then Maine Senator Olympia Snowe securing permission) to bring a surplus of his company’s holiday wreaths for placement at gravesites at Arlington. Mr. Worcester indicated that in 2015 his company made 241,000 holiday wreaths, 70,000 of which were being carried by the current convoy.

Shortly after the trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles plus escorting police cars from various area police departments were parked, members of the convoy, area veterans, dignitaries and over 400 junior high students and staff crossed Rt. 1 to Ocean View Cemetery. Those representing the school included Principal Chris Chessie who choreographed the event, Danielle Adams a teacher who sang the “Star Spangled Banner”, Jacob Lareau (from WHS) who played “Taps” and nineteen students who placed wreaths at a Civil War monument. The 20 students placing wreaths included Skye Randall, Precious Nickless, Mackayla Giles, Tristan Michaud-Nolan, Elle Meffert, Iceseas Hanson, Camden Sevigny, Mikey Ducharme, Kai Rosenberg, Kate Pinette, Victoria Haywood, Lucas Randall, Summer Sayward, Evan Cash, Tim Martell, Katie Plourde, Dan Metzler, Ashlynn Dolan, Ashleigh Bolduc and Matt Tufts.

At the microphone introducing participants was WJHS Principal Chris Chessie. “The dream of Mr. Worcester is to honor all that have given their lives with a wreath from Harrington Maine,” said Chessie. “…this dream still lives and grows each year.”

“We’ve been coming here for a lot of years and we appreciate what Mr. Chessie does for us,” commented Mr. Worcester before the convoy departed WJHS for its next stop in Kittery. “We’re blessed,” Worcester added.

The convoy was scheduled to reach Arlington, Virginia on what is now designated National Wreaths Across America Day which this year falls on Saturday, December 12th.

Principal Chessie also wishes to thank local veterans James Kilbride and John Mixon for their assistance with planning this event.

A wreath laying ceremony at Ocean View Cemetery with over 400 WJHS students on December 7, 2015

A sign on one of the vehicles in the Wreath Across America convoy visiting WJHS on December 7, 2015

Wells High School Student Jacob Lareau playing Taps at Ocean View Cemetery on December 7, 2015

Morrill Worcester, president of the Worcester Wreath Co (left) and Principal of WJHS Chris Chessie on December 7, 2015

Morrill Worcester, president of the Worcester Wreath Co, leaving WJHS with the Wreaths Across America convoy for the convoy’s next stop in Kittery, Maine on December 7, 2015