The kindergarten through first grade students at Windham Christian Academy hosted and honored approximately 20 local veterans with their third Annual Veterans’ Breakfast on Friday, November 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
|WCA students and the guests|
This yearly event is the brainchild of first and second grade teacher, Lynn Dodd.
“I feel it is important for the next generation to know the sacrifices that were made in order to have the freedoms we have today,” explained Dodd, and that this was the purpose behind this annual event. “Also, my husband is a Vietnam Vet and I know how important it is to show appreciation to all our veterans.”
The morning began with a Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. Flag as well as to The Christian Flag pledge and the singing of The National Anthem.
Breakfast immediately followed and was supplied by parents. Food items included: scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, donuts, pancakes, crepes, orange juice and coffee. Students sat by their guest veterans who they had previously interviewed for an assignment.
Prior to the appreciation breakfast, the class got to know their individual veteran. “As a class, we sent out an interview sheet to the veterans that each student wanted to get to know,” explained Dodd. “The students learned, through the interview process, important information such as what branch of service their veteran belonged to, what they liked best and least about being in the service as well as what type of job they had.”
Although there were many learning outcomes to this event and class assignment, the most surprising factor the students learned was that not all individuals who join the armed forces fight on the front lines. “The students were surprised to discover that most veterans have jobs such as cooks, tailors and carpenters and that they don’t necessary shoot guns,” explained Dodd.
|Students entertaining their guests|
Other important knowledge gained by the students was that of social etiquette and event planning. Dodd explained that all the students participated in the planning and decorating for this annual Veterans’ Breakfast Event. Once their guest veteran arrived, they met them at the door, sat at the table with them and spoke with them as one would expect of any host.
Each veteran had the opportunity to introduce themselves and the roles they carried out while in the Armed Forces. Second grader, Caleb Johnson’s grandfather, Walter Johnson, was one of those veterans. “I served during the Korean War from 1953-1955,” Johnson explained. “I was stationed in Manheim, Germany and worked in the administrative and technology portion of the library.”
Upon conclusion of breakfast and prior to each veteran introducing themselves and their roles in the armed forces, the students performed the song, “I'm in the Lord's Army” and read a poem written by the students collaboratively. “From this poem, they learned that the word integrity means doing the right thing even when no one else is looking,” explained Dodd. “That is what our military has to do.”
When Dodd asked her students what they learned from this year’s event, she received many thought-provoking answers. “Some veterans were together in the same room and got to meet each other for the first time,” explained second-grader, Liam Kindred. “Some discovered that they were both in the same war and because of that, they got to meet new friends.”
One student noticed how happy the veterans seemed at being honored and given an opportunity to talk about their experiences. “I noticed that all the veterans were smiling,” second-grader Avery Sands observed.
The students, however, were not the only ones who had insight regarding the annual Breakfast Event. Former Windham Christian Academy student, Ben Manning, who is was recently discharged from the Navy shared a thought when it was his turn to introduce himself.
“I would like to take a moment to thank all the Korean and Vietnam Veterans who served before me,” Manning began. “When you came home from the wars, your reception by the public was not a positive one but you changed that for the younger generations. As a result, whether or not people agree with the war now, they still show their support to us troops. Thank you for doing that.”
With that, the annual breakfast concluded with plans to host a fourth annual Veterans’ Breakfast next year.