N.B. Mills Elementary School students and staff members honored veterans with a program to celebrate and thank those who have served.
The students and staff emphasized that everyone should know and understand exactly what veterans have done. To help with that, an intimate atmosphere for the children to learn about what the day means was created.
“It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of today’s celebration,” Principal Sheliah Burnette said Thursday morning. “At N.B. Mills, we have made it a priority to ensure that all of our students understand why we have a Veterans Day holiday, and the sacrifices made by military personnel and families.”
The event started with coffee and doughnuts with the veterans, followed by a house meeting that included questions and conversations about what the veterans have done.
As the veterans passed the children in the halls of the school, the students stood against the wall and greeted them with applause to honor them.
The children were able to ask the veterans questions about being in a branch of the military.
The questions ranged from what did a veteran see to where did they go. Some asked fun questions such as if they ever got to ride in a tank while others asked more serious questions such as were they nervous or did they ever cry during their time overseas.
The answers were honest in the rooms and halls that were filled with patriotic drawings from the kids.
The main event of the day was a program to honor the veterans.
As much as the kids wanted to know about the veterans, the speakers also wanted to let them know their value to each and every one of the students in attendance.
The program was filled with patriotic music sung by the fourth and fifth graders. The songs featured were “God Bless the U.S.A.” — the Lee Greenwood version, the national anthem and a portion of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” with poems intertwined.
This event was put together by music teacher Brittany Holland.
This is Holland’s first year at the school and after hearing that it had done programs in the past for Veterans Day, she was quick to pick the program back up.
Holland has been working to perfect the songs since August, but this week was the first time the kids performed with their respective grades, and the morning before the performance was the first time the students practiced together.
“We really wanted to make sure the kids fully understood what the meaning of Veterans Day was,” Holland said.
To help with that, James Mabry — the dean of students at the school and a veteran — sat down with the students to tell them what makes this day unique.
This conversation sparked an idea with Holland to reach all the students in the school.
“We thought with the house meeting being (Thursday), that would be a good experience for the children to get to talk to veterans,” Holland said.
This led to the school asking students and their families to invite a veteran to come talk to the students.
“Maybe they don’t always get to talk to and to share their experiences and to have a ‘Q and A’ sessions with the students so that they can get to know more about veterans and understand it and why it is so important for us to honor them,” Holland said.
The event honored about eight veterans in the community Thursday morning, Holland said.
“[It is] kind of a way to honor them while being able to do this and giving the kids opportunities to speak and work with them and to get to know more of their community and what is out there,” said Holland, who has military members in her family.
This is a program that the school plans to continue to do for years to come.
“I think it is something that is very important, not only to our community but to our students’ future to understand the importance and where it comes from and supporting our military,” Holland said.
At the end of the program, before the veterans were applauded again on their way out of the building, each was given artwork that the students had worked on with teacher Ashley Stovall with the theme of stars and stripes.
This event took the help of many of the elementary school staff and Holland praised them for that.
“I think having the support of our school and our teachers and staff (and) also the community. I don’t think… any program would be possible without them,” Holland said. “It is great to give our kids opportunities like this.”