LEESVILLE, La. (Fort Polk Progress) - Parkway Elementary School students honored veterans with a special Veterans Day program full of patriotic songs and readings on November 7 at the school in Leesville, Louisiana.
"As a Parkway community, we wanted to make sure that we honor our veterans and the families of those veterans today through both song and speech," said Mary McDonald, Parkway Elementary School vice principal. "We also wanted to make sure we were communicating the idea of community, and that it takes all of us to make this school run and to see these students be successful."
"But ultimately, it was to honor our veterans this time of year. My own grandfather was in the audience," McDonald added.
The students performed songs, including "The Heart of America," "American Tears," "For the Good of the Many," and "Mighty United."
They finished the performance singing "America, Land of the Free," which highlighted every branch of the military. Veterans in the audience were asked to stand when their military branch was announced in the song.
After the performance, Military Student Transition Consultant Adrian Todd ended the program with a veteran recognition.
Todd presented Parkway Elementary School teachers who served in the military with certificates. These educators included Samantha Hicks, Stacy Bradford, Nicole Krueger, and Anthony Adams.
"We'd just like to take this opportunity to thank them for not only serving in our military and protecting our country, but also making the decision to serve us here at Parkway to work and educate our children," Todd said. "We're so happy they are part of our Parkway team."
She also took the time to acknowledge military family members in the audience.
"I'd like to also acknowledge, recognize and share our appreciation to all the military family members who are here today," Todd said. "There's no way our soldiers can do the work that they do without the support from all of you."
Todd concluded by recognizing fallen military members, asking for a moment of silence as "Taps" played.
"I would also like to honor all our veterans who could not be with us today that did not return home from their deployments or their missions," Todd said.
Melissa Brown, a military spouse in attendance, was happy with the program.
"The kids did a fabulous job," Brown said. "It was a very good program and inclusive of all the military branches."
The students were also pleased with their performance.
Austin Monka, 9, was proud to have a speaking part in the program.
"I felt a bit nervous, but I also felt glad at the same time," Monka said. "We all had a great time."
Zoe Burnett, 10, said her favorite part of performing was seeing the audience watching them.
"I hope they felt proud of us," Burnett said. "I was really excited."
Elizabeth Cyr, Parkway Elementary School music teacher, directed the program and expressed her excitement at how it turned out.
"The kids did a wonderful job. I am so proud of their hard work - it paid off," Cyr said. "I really hope the veterans and military families in the audience took away from the program that we appreciate them, we're proud of them, and we love them."
Veterans Day programs will continue taking place at Vernon Parish schools as follows:
* Anacoco Elementary School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. in the AES Gym.
* Hornbeck High School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. in the Hornbeck Gym.
* Leesville Junior High School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. at the LJHS Gym.
* Leesville High School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 10:20 a.m. in the LHS Auditorium.
* Pitkin High School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 9:30 a.m. in the Pitkin Gym.
* North Polk Elementary School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room.
* Pickering High School - Friday, Nov. 9th at 10 a.m. in the Gym.
* Rosepine Elementary School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the Gym.
* Vernon Middle School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 1:45 p.m. at the VMS Gym.
* West Leesville Elementary School - Friday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. in the Multipurpose Building.
* Hicks High School - Monday, Nov. 12 at 5:40 p.m. in the Hicks Gym.