Veteran’s Day Assembly November 14, 2017

For most people, Veterans Day is just an excuse to take off school or work and get discounts at department stores – but not for UHS. For the third year in a row, the Veterans Heritage Project organized an inspiring assembly to honor the veterans in our city. Whether the audience members came for extra credit opportunities, to see their children speak, or to show respect to the veterans every single person who attended walked away with an immense appreciation for those who fought for our country as well as an understanding for what the holiday really is about.

The Veterans Heritage Project (VHP) has been a club at UHS for four years. It was started by the beloved history teacher, Mr. Dickinson, who wanted to spread his appreciation for veterans and ensure that their stories live forever. Throughout the year, club members interview veterans across the city and at the end of the year, the club compiles all of the veteran’s stories into a book which is published and sold to the public. Mr. Dickinson has also created the U.S. Military History course, in its first year at the school, which teaches students about the history of the military in the United States by incorporating the stories of veterans into the curriculum. Each week, a veteran comes to the class for an interview, enabling 32 students to hear their stories instead of just one or two. This year alone, 50 veterans have been interviewed, 20 of which fought in World War II, and all of their stories will be included in this year’s book, to be released on April 22, 2018. Together, VHP and the students in the Military History course worked hard to put together the school’s annual assembly.

The assembly shared the stories of eleven veterans that UHS students have interviewed this year, ranging from those who fought in the second World War to those who served in the Iraq War. Two of the veterans were UHS teachers, Ms. Quinn and Dr. Hosmer, and the guest speaker, Kevin Pollack, was a UHS graduate from the class of 1989. Each story told a breathtaking tale of the veteran’s service; including doctors who chose to save lives rather than take them, purple heart recipients, and those from all branches of the military; each veteran doing things that few students could even imagine. Aside from the inspiring stories being told, what made the presentations more impressive was the fact that each interview was done by a UHS student, each story written by a UHS student, and the entire assembly run by our students (with some help from Mr. Dickinson). This Veterans Day assembly was just another example of how truly outstanding our school is and how the students genuinely care about the preservation of history.

The programs that Mr. Dickinson has brought to our school; the VHP club, the annual assembly, and the Military History class; have been massively successful in improving our school’s appreciation for veterans – people who are exceptionally important for the well being of our country and often do not get the recognition they deserve. Each year, the assembly shares more inspirational stories of local veterans, changing the lives of the veterans and the views of the students, and this year was no exception. With another moving panel of U.S. veterans, the assembly has inspired me and all who attended to thank our veterans for their service instead of for another day off of school, and I cannot wait to see what the club puts together next year.

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