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Column: District 518 schedules Veterans Day activities

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington District 518 schools plan on honoring our veterans in a number of ways. In past years, ISD schools have put together a very full and active schedule for those who have served this great country. We would like to continue to do so, but in a little different format.

This year, Worthington Middle School and Worthington High School would like to offer pre-veterans day programs. The reason for having these programs a day or two early is to spread out the activities so those who have served our country can attend all the planned events without conflicts. These programs are open to the public and welcome anyone who would like to attend. All Americans, regardless of political persuasion or attitude toward ongoing wars, want to express appreciation to our veterans, whether they're from World War I or II or freshly back from Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Worthington High School Veterans Day program will be on Thursday, Nov. 10 starting at 1:30 p.m. in the main gymnasium. It will include musical selections from the WHS choir, band and orchestra along with selected readings explaining the history of the Pledge of Allegiance, "Who is a Veteran" and the origin of the VA motto. Cindy and Duane Anderson will present a vocal selection, "Letters from War." The featured speaker will be 1st Sgt. Stacey Gustasson from the Minnesota Army National Guard.

The Worthington Middle School students have been involved in poster and essay contests, and some have volunteered to make decorations. The top three posters were chosen and will be made into vinyl posters by the high school business class. One poster will be given to our local veterans; the remaining two will be sent to our local units deployed in Afghanistan and Kuwait. The essay contest winners will be reading their essays during the program, and music students will perform. The program is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. in the gym.

Once again, Prairie Elementary will be honoring our veterans on Veterans Day. Veterans of Worthington to attend breakfast in the gymnasium at Prairie Elementary. The breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m., and there will be a short patriotic presentation that will conclude at 8:15. Following the presentation, attendees are encouraged to take a guided tour of the school. The students have been working hard to adorn the halls and classrooms with patriotic décor. As educators, Prairie Elementary staff are privileged to have the opportunity to teach students the importance and meaning of Veterans Day. This is one of the school's favorite days of celebration. Please join in honoring those who have served our country with the greatest sacrifice.

As Americans, we have set aside Nov. 11, Veterans Day, to reflect, remember and honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Today, there are nearly 25 million military veterans living among us. We honor them by teaching younger generations about their sacrifices on our behalf. We need to continue to celebrate America's veterans for keeping this nation "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Paul Karelis is Worthington High School's principal.