DCSD schools honor our veterans
DOUGLAS COUNTY - On Veterans Day, November 11, we honor the brave men and women who have selflessly served our country and risked their lives to protect our freedoms. Around Douglas County School District, schools are saluting veterans with performances, projects, ceremonies and more throughout the week.
Scroll down and take a look! View even more photos here.
Mesa Middle School kicks off the week
Mesa Middle School students created a Wall of Honor (above). Each "brick" in the wall includes the name or multiple names of veterans in the lives of students. Theatrical skits, performances by the school's orchestra and choir, and patriotic music by the Stellar Band (below)-- all of whom are veterans-- rounded out the evening.
The oldest Pearl Harbor veteran visits Sand Creek Elementary School
Navy veteran Lt. James Downing is the oldest Pearl Harbor veteran. On Wednesday, November 9, he spoke at Sand Creek Elementary School about his experiences and answered questions by students.
He took the children and the many veterans in the audience, on a journey through the day’s events, and recounted his very human feelings.
Surprise. “There was no warning, no radar. All we knew is what we saw.”
Fear. “That one plane missed, but maybe the next will be more accurate.”
Anger. “Our leadership allowed the situation to happen.”
Resolve. “This situation will never happen again.”
Pride. “The response by fellow servicemen – everyone was a hero.”
Through this historical account, he made sure to address the plight of today’s veterans. While there are 21 million veterans living today,
- 1.4 million are disabled
- 250,000 have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- 50,000 are homeless, and
- 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
The event closed with a touching presentation of tokens of appreciation to the veterans in the audience, who were invited to the front of the gym upon hearing the song representing their specific branch of military service. Students then joined them at the front.
Many of these same veterans were commemorated in pictures and murals lining the hallway to the gym – a reminder to the students that freedom isn’t free and many have sacrificed much to preserve it.
A birds-eye view of a student created flag at Highlands Ranch High School
All of the students and staff of Highlands Ranch High School showed their patriotism and support for our troops this Veterans Day week by joining together to create a big flag outside of the school.
"It is simply a salute to America," said Highlands Ranch High School math teacher Tony Verbsky. "A lot of people are talking about putting America back together and our school theme is 'All In.' Today, we all came together and were 'All In' this flag."
Highlands Ranch High School Senior Madeline Ng was one of the five student from the Mu Alpha Theta National Math Honors Society who organized the event. It took about two years to plan the moment in which the school created an American flag, measuring about 91 feet by 61 feet. To capture it all, the students launched drones with cameras.
"Academically it is pretty challenging, but in terms of teamwork, it is just huge," Ng said.
It is definitely a good math exercise," Ng continued. "It is full of geometry and the basic math that we have learned, like calculating areas and perimeters how many people can fit where. The kids in our class know all the math that goes into the flight path and all the calculations. It is also complicated because you are working with real life people and real life stuff and it doesn't always go exactly as planned."
"It is an exercise in systems thinking. It is a real world type of problem that they had to solve," Verbsky added.
The students used about 3,000 colored folders, purchased with money from their club, as well as drones purchased using money from the Innovation Grant received by Verbsky when he won the World Class Educator Award during last year's Apple Awards.
Each folder has “HRHS ♡ USA” imprinted upon it. View the drone video below:
Larkspur Elementary School
Larkspur students rang a replica of the liberty bell and sang as part of a moving ceremony on Thursday, November 10.
Pine Grove Elementary School
Cimarron Middle School
Cimarron held a moving ceremony for hundreds of audience members. Students gave a brief history of each American war. As they spoke about more recent wars, they asked those respective veterans in the audience to stand, to which the veterans received a huge applause. A video of students discussing what Veterans Day means to them and talking about those in their lives that have fought for this country was shown. Congressman Mike Coffman attended the event and greeted students, families and veterans, and also spoke to the crowd. All veterans in attendance were invited to come on stage at the end of the event.
South Ridge Elementary School
North Star Academy
Sand Creek Elementary School
Coyote Creek Elementary
Arrowwood Elementary School
Congressman Mike Coffman also stopped by Arrowwood Elementary School for a visit. Additionally, students had the chance to hear from veterans.
Rock Ridge Elementary
Above: Teacher Erin Hahn has four kids who also attend Rock Ridge. Her husband is a Captain in the U.S. Army National Guard, and he also volunteers at the school.
Eldorado Elementary School
Congressman Mike Coffman additionally visited Eldorado Elementary. He said, “By your honoring our veteran’s today, I think it proves America is a great nation. I want to thank you for what you’ve done today, to honor those who served this nation in a uniform. And to remember to that there is a price for freedom and it isn’t free.”
Gage, a sixth grade student at Eldorado said, “We performed and sang to remind people and veterans that even though sometimes people don’t think about our veterans, we remember what they do, that we still care, and today we honor them for their service."
Clear Sky Elementary
Veterans joined students on stage at the end of the school's Veterans Day performance.
Elijah, a third grader at Clear Sky, said, "Today means a lot. My parents are very special today. We honor them. It felt really good and made me proud that my mom and dad serve in our military and they’ve been doing this for a long time."
Paul Dubey, a veteran, said, "It is very honoring, especially in today’s environment. So many people don’t appreciate our military, fire, police, people who serve our country to provide the freedom and the liberties that we have. So for kids to see that and recognize that and see it with their Grandfathers, fathers, brothers, sisters I think it’s very special."
Students in Trailblazer's chorus sang patriotic songs for students and parents.
Mountain Ridge Middle School
Students at Mountain Ridge Middle School produced this Veterans Day video.