Presentation Honoring Local Veterans to be Held at CHS

The students of the CHS AP English class are planning a respectful, reflective presentation to honor area veterans on November 9th. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson

 

Reflecting on the service of individuals who have been a part of the United States Armed Forces enables the community both to honor said veterans and to recognize the conditions in which they served. Every year, the students of Calais High School’s AP English class put on a presentation for younger students and the public to pay their respects to local veterans. This year’s presentation is planned for Friday, November 9th.

The goal of the presentation is to honor all veterans in the community, and, as such, photos and information regarding their individual service will be playing in a projected slideshow. A video containing interviews with four area veterans will also be showcased. This year’s veterans are Steven Oliver, Darrin McLellan, Wesley Comeau, and Perry Shain.

The theme of this year’s interview questions is “Brotherhood.” The interviewees will be responding to questions involving “who they’ve met, where they’ve gone, and if they’ve stayed in touch with any of the people they met during their time in the military,” explained MacKenzie Bennett. The students developed the theme when Ivy McLellan was speaking to her father, Darrin. “One of the people he met was the best man at his wedding,” she said.

The video and music played for the slideshow may be augmented by the school’s newly-acquired sound system, provided it will be ready in time.

The CMHS Band, under the direction of Christine Proefrock, will be playing four thematic songs during the presentation: “Salute to Freedom,” as arranged by Andy Clark, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “This is My Country,” arranged by Michael Sweeney, and “God Bless America,” arranged by John Higgins. The CMHS Chorus will be singing “We Honor You,” arranged by Roger Emerson, and “From Sea to Shining Sea.”

During the course of the presentation, the students will perform America’s White Table, light candles for each branch of service, and pass out roses to all veterans present. Sammy Coltart will provide the songs for each branch during the rose-passing ceremony.

The stage and the cafeteria itself will be decorated with artwork made by students from Alexander, Perry, Indian Township, Pleasant Point, and Calais elementary schools.

While the AP English class is the responsible party for the presentation each year, the individual students involved change as the class roster rotates. Only four students in this year’s class have participated previously, making it a new learning experience for them.

Asked why they feel it is important, the students provided a range of thoughtful answers. Adida Edwards succinctly shared that it was “to show the veterans that we care,” while Kale Sapiel focused on the value to the students that will be in the audience: “A lot of younger kids, if they don’t have any veterans in their family, they kind of just forget about them.” Abby Downing emphasized the importance of educating the community: “It’s to show the community that it’s more than just a holiday or a day off.”

Prior to the presentation, there will be a social hour where all veterans and their families are encouraged to come and share in coffee and refreshments.

Sponsors for the event thus far include Tradewinds, Johnson’s, Machias Savings Bank, ACE, Dunkin Donuts, Jobs for Maine Graduates, Flowers by Janie, which provides the roses every year at cost.

Photos for the slideshow are being accepted until Friday, October 26th. They may be left in Lori Ellis’s mailbox at the high school or given to Jamie Thigpen at the front desk.

 

The presentation will be held on Friday, November 9th at 9:15 in the CMHS cafeteria. The social hour will begin at 8 a.m. in the teachers’ lounge.