Meadows Elementary honors local veterans

Meadows Elementary School Principal Kimberly Sorenson speaks to veterans and students at the school’s Veterans Day Ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. Courtesy photo

Meadows Elementary School held a special Veterans Day ceremony last week to pay tribute to family members of the school’s staff and students who have served or who are currently serving the country.

“It was amazing event,” Principal Kim Sorenson said of the schools’ second Veterans Day Ceremony.  “We had close to 100 parents attended the events in our whole school of more than 650 students and then we honored 17 veterans.”

Veteran honorees included fathers, grandfathers, uncles and a mother who were related to at least one Meadows Elementary student.  The students honored veterans young and old, including a 93-year-old man who served in three wars and is a grandfather to two Meadows students.

The Veterans Day ceremony kicked off with a performance from the school’s sixth grade Drum Corps that performed a cadence for the audience.

Then, 74 first grade students handed the veterans homemade paper poppy flowers, which represent remembrance of both current and fallen service men and women.

“It was brought to my attention by my first grade team of teachers and they said that the kids had made poppies.  I did some research and found that poppies are significant and represent fallen soldiers as well as current soldiers,” Sorenson said.  “A little over 70 first graders hand all of their poppies to the 17 veterans and they ended up having little poppy bouquets.”

A member of the CA-782nd Air Force Junior ROTC program, located at Valencia High School, poses with a Meadows Elementary School student and teacher at the Meadows Elementary School’s Veterans Day Ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. Courtesy photo

Members of the CA-782nd Air Force Junior ROTC program, located at Valencia High School, then presented the colors to the community before the school had a moment of silence to honor the veterans.

“It was so meaningful for the children,” Sorenson said.  “Every morning we say the pledge of allegiance and have a moment of silence, so honoring our Meadows family members during that time helps me teach the children why we have that moment of silence and to put faces and names to why we have that moment of silence.”

In addition to the moment of silence, four first grade students read heartfelt letters to the veterans before the veterans attended a morning breakfast reception and listened to patriotic songs performed by the school’s second grade students.

The 17 veterans also visited their child’s or grandchild’s classroom to share their experiences through a book and lead a discussion about the importance and history of Veterans Day.

Sorenson said the veterans’ visit also tied in perfectly to Meadows Elementary’s theme for school year based on the Erin Hanson quote: “And you ask ‘What if I fall?’  Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”

“The theme is being brave and not being afraid to try.  And of course the veterans are an example of that, they are the real heroes,” Sorenson said.  “As educators we want to bring to life the curriculum and the things in which we are learning in books.  This was our way of bringing to light patriotism and honoring our Meadows family, the ones who are brave.”

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