The Riverside campus welcomed veterans to its annual Veterans Day gathering and luncheon on November 11, and also took the opportunity to unveil a new touchscreen kiosk listing Riverside alumni and employees who have served in the military.
This was the seventh year the school had hosted the event, noted organizer and Riverside teacher Jenny Cavell.
Visitors heard from Cavell, Riverside campus director William Mayer and nine students reading letters to veterans. They also saw several videos honoring service members, including one in which Riverside students and staff answered the question, “What is a veteran?”
“What amazes me is that in the first year I had to read maybe 30 letters that were submitted by children,” Cavell said. “Now I get over 100 every year that I have to go through and decide and that’s the part I like the most because adults can talk about being grateful for their freedom but I think sometimes it’s nice hearing that from the young people they actually appreciate that they live in a free country.”
She added that this is likely to be the largest turnout for the event.
“I like the part about the school actually getting the kids to respect and honor veterans,” said Chris Weiss, an Army veteran who attended the event.
“I’m glad that in this case, a teacher whose parents served in the military was strong enough to do it at school like she was,” he added.
Students from the school’s music programs also contributed. A student sang the national anthem, band members played songs from the Armed Forces Medley, and choir members recited the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields.”
After the meeting, guests went to the Riverside Gym for lunch.
They also had the opportunity to use a new touchscreen Veterans’ Kiosk in the Riverside Lobby. The kiosk was the second phase of the Riverside Veterans Memorial Project, noted district marketing and communications director Nick Carrabine, with the first being the Riverside Stadium Wall of Honor.
Eventually, organizers of the project intend for the exhibit to list all of Riverside’s alumni and employees who have served in the military, he added.
The kiosk’s designers are working to allow users to view members of the Riverside community by date, military branch or where they served, noted Riverside literacy and social studies coach Richard Schmidt.
The district’s social studies teachers prepared essays describing the various branches of the military and the conflicts, while the kiosk’s user interface was designed by computer programming students at the Auburn Career Center.
He added that there are currently about 300 names on the system and invited alumni who served to send information to Cavell or the Riverside campus office. He also mentioned the need for more photos of the military personnel.
Cavell can be reached at [email protected] while the office can be reached at 440-352-3341.
In addition to the gathering and lunch at the Riverside campus, Carrabine said the district’s elementary schools and LaMuth Middle School also hosted Veterans Day events.
“Veterans Day is one of our favorite days of the year,” he said in an email, later adding, “Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or a gathering, it’s a great opportunity for our employees and students to bring them in and let them know how much we appreciate what they’ve done for our country.”