BES Veteran’s Day Assembly


Molly Bobik, staff

Christopher Cox, a sophomore trumpet player, performed “Taps” at the assembly.

Every year, Baggaley Elementary School honors and pays respect to veterans with the annual Veteran’s Day Assembly. This year was the eighteenth year since Ellen Piper, the school’s retired band director and music teacher, began the assembly in 1999. The program is carried out by the current music teacher Rita Feals. “It is important for the students to know how important the veterans are to our community,” said Mrs. Feals. The elementary school is the only school in the district that hosts such an event.

Throughout the years, multiple guests have spoken at the event to promote and inform the young students of the necessity of veterans and their sacrifices. People such as Kay Elder, a school board member for 35 years,  have made appearances at the assembly.

Todd Simpson, a retired army reserves member and civics and psychology teacher at Latrobe, also received the opportunity to speak to the audience. “Being asked to speak at the Baggaley Veteran’s assembly is an honor,” said Mr.Simpson. “It has been established as a solid tradition honoring the family and community members who have served our community.”

This year Sergeant Gerald Black,  a member of the army for eight years and a Cavalry Scout, was the honored speaker. His position required him to be the eyes and ears of the commander. He was sent to survey areas and their local malicious. Sergeant black also served combat missions in Afghanistan. He is currently an army and army reserves recruiter for multiple high schools and colleges in Westmoreland County. Sergeant Black mainly reinforced the idea of the significance of honoring all veterans and showing appreciation for their sacrifices.

Along with Sergeant Black, 50 other veterans attended the ceremony. These veterans ranged anywhere from their mid 20s to 80s. Represented at the assembly were the posts: American Legion posts 515 and 982, VFW post 8643 and 3414, and Rolling Rock Detachment of the Marine Corps League. All of the attendees were friends and family of the students of Baggaley. A total of 3,100 veterans have come from Baggaley families.

The students of Baggaley joined in the assembly. The sixth grade band performed a march to honor the veterans. Students from Mrs.Keslar’s fifth grade class spoke of why they were thankful for the veterans. Additionally, the sixth grade chorus sang a tune from each branch of the military: Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, and Army. During the individual songs, kids were given the opportunity to stand up when they had a family member who served or currently serves in that area of the military. “It is wonderful to see that auditorium packed with students respecting our country and honoring her flag and those who have fought for them,” said Mr.Simpson.

Mr Mike Porembka, the director of teaching and learning, Judy Swigart, the superintendent, and Dr. Georgia Teppert, the assistant superintendent, were the administrators who joined the tribute. Along with them, the school board members Kay Elder and Heidi Kozar attended this year’s presentation.

A slide show is created each year by Ron Reno, an army veteran and current fourth grade teacher at Baggaley. This year, the presentation depicted veterans’ essential role in our community. The pictures showed that anyone can be a veteran, such as your mom, dad, sister, or uncle. “The kids need to know that the heroes they look for are their family,” said Mr.Reno.

Some day, the students sitting in the audience of these assemblies may even appear on the stage, following in the footsteps of the ones they admired the most.