Dec. 16, 2016

Hilton High School honors Veterans

Hilton High School held its first ceremony in November to honor area veterans. “In discussing what was done to honor veterans, we realized that there was currently not an assembly at the High School to honor and discuss the importance of Veterans,” said Jake Warner, social studies teacher, who organized the event with Kim Saxton, also a social studies teacher. “Community is an important part of our school’s mission and this seemed like a great way to have students interact with the very people who have served and protected them.”

Brad Helmer, technology teacher, who served in the U.S. Army from 1987-1991 and in the Army Reserves from 1991-2008, talked to students about the importance of the community supporting vets when they return home. “People ask, ‘What can I do?’ Always start with your local groups – the Veterans’ Outreach Center, VFW, American Legion – that is where you can make the biggest impact,” he said. “Also, saying thank you when you meet a veteran – it touches us deeply.”

Kali Rose Stich, a senior, spoke about the pride she has for her stepfather, who served in the Marine Corps. “The time he served made him a better person and a better dad,” she said.

Joe Callery, also a senior, used the symbolism of red, white and blue to talk about the courage, purity of heart and honor displayed by veterans.

“Thank you for your dedication and selfless passion for protecting our great country,” said Senior Vincent Mantisi.

Senior Emily Mullen, whose family has a long history of serving in the armed forces, talked about her personal experience as the daughter of a veteran. “To a child of a soldier, a deployment is one more night without a loved one – missed birthdays, first words, first steps that can never be repeated,” she said.

Also on hand was Sgt. Tonya Pearson, Army recruiter, who told the audience to live their lives and be good Americans so that vets know their service was not in vain. “Take advantage of all the rights that our vets have defended,” she said.

Nineteen veterans and their families were in attendance and stayed afterwards to be photographed.

Merton Williams Middle School Teacher Pamela Tenny has organized a Veterans' Day ceremony to recognize local veterans for many years. The ceremony involves students from Merton Williams, Quest Elementary School and Village Elementary School.