Students honor veterans at annual ceremony

At this time last year, SFC Carl Rice of the U.S. Army was overseas on his third deployment. He has three daughters enrolled at FFCS. On Friday, though, he was the guest speaker at the elementary school’s annual Veterans Day celebration.

“Leaving my daughters to go serve overseas is a very hard thing to do,” Rice said. And many, many families have done that as well. Why would I leave my beautiful girls? Because some things are worth fighting for.”

Rice gave FFCS students a simple assignment.

“Be worth fighting for,” he said. “Continue to live your life every day as if someone has given theirs up so you can have your freedoms and opportunities. You want to thank a veteran? Be a good person, a good citizen, a good American. It’s the best way I can think of to thank all of the veterans who have given up so much.”

The annual celebration gives the school community an opportunity to share their appreciation of the service and sacrifice by veterans, active service members and their families.

Veterans and were escorted to the auditorium after enjoying refreshments courtesy of the PTSA. When they entered the auditorium, they were honored with a processional played by the High School Jazz Ensemble as the elementary school students waved their flags.

One of the highlights of the event featured a donation to the Leatherstocking hub of the Honor Flight Network, which transports veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Elementary students raised money through a bottle drive, and faculty and staff members donated their weekly “dress down” money to the cause.

Other special moments at the event included:

  • Performances by the Brave Ringers handbell choir.
  • A salute to the five branches of the U.S. Military, with speeches by Aiden Glode, Gianna Ciaccio, Mason Schriner, Logan Musto and Olivia Flood. The flag bearers were Samantha Rice, Molly Young, Katrina Vosburgh, Andrew Walton and Michael Jacobs.
  • Vocal performances by the students of each grade.
  • A slideshow titled “The Faces of our Veterans,” featuring photographs of students, faculty and staff with the veterans and active service members in their lives.

The event was organized by teachers Lisa Vosburgh and Shannon Black, with support from the district’s character education committees.