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St. Stephen Elementary students see the importance of honoring veterans

Published Friday, November 9, 2018

Several Berkeley County Schools held events Friday to honor local veterans. From school parades, to special meals and programs, students and teachers made it clear that veterans should be honored for their service to our country and their commitment to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

At St. Stephen Elementary students participated in a program that’s been an annual event for several years. They wrote “thank you” notes to veterans; performed a song and with the help of the school cafeteria staff, served breakfast.

Among those in attendance was recent Navy retiree Kenda Smalls. It was the first time she’d been honored at such an event, and she described it as heartwarming. Smalls hopes to see more schools and organizations honor veterans the way many BCSD schools do, however she does not pass judgment on those that may not feel the need.

 “I tell myself that I served so that people can have their opinion,” she said.

As first-grade students serenaded the group of those who devoted substantial chunks of their life to defending freedom, Smalls admits she found herself getting a little emotional.

“I don’t know any of the kids, but I was so proud of them,” she said.

Note found inside a goodie bag, thanking veterans for their service

Notes like this, written by 1st-graders, were placed in goodie bags for each of the veterans in attendance. (BCSD photo)

St. Stephen Elementary student government president Mack Ravenell was involved in the coordination and planning of the event. He said the program was important to him as the child of a veteran.

“Today was a pretty nice day, because he (dad) usually isn’t around for events like this,” Mack said.

Mack said he realizes all schools may not hold such programs. To that, he has a specific response.

“It’s important to honor veterans, because they are the people that protected us and give us our freedom,” he said. “…I am not sure what other schools do, but I hope they do things like this.”

Brian Troutman