Plymouth schools honor veterans with ceremonies

Veterans welcome Parkview Elementary School students into the gym for a Veterans Day program. — Submitted photo Veterans welcome Parkview Elementary School students into the gym for a Veterans Day program. — Submitted photo Plymouth schools marked Veterans Day on Nov. 11 with several moving programs and a display created by a teacher who served in the Navy.

Plymouth High School

The Plymouth High School program featured the color guard from VFW Post 5612, and recognized two veterans: Thomas Richart, who served in the Navy from 1959 to 1962, and Mark Zimmerman, who served in the Army from 1967 to 1969.

Students in the Advanced Speech class taught by Janet Newton narrated a slide show, which explored the history of Veterans Day, the meaning of the word “veteran” and concepts such as honor, courage and loyalty. It included words from Purple Heart recipient Jake Meinnert of the PHS Class of 2012, quotes about veterans and the poem “Flanders Field.” Foreign exchange students from Germany and Russia explained similar holidays in their countries.

Members of the Advanced Speech class: Kayla Andrews, Zach Cain, Alex Calteux, Shauna Clemens, Lucas Collard, Jonathon Gideon, Keith Grennier, Marion Gronemann, Cameron Hauser, Drew Klug, Kyra Kronberg, Alexamder Krueger, April LaBoy, Emily Meinnert, Cole Meyer, Aaron Pecotich, Anton Pohl, Anna Popova, Logan Rauch, Jack Sacket, Jennifer Schwartz, Skyler Simenz, Nicholas Strucke, Sarah Tournour, Vanesa Urner and Alexandria Van Ells.

Also during the program, Principal Jennifer Rauscher read an essay written by Sen. John McCain, who had been a prisoner of war. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Julia Novotny, Abigail Phelps, Erik Ohman and Izack Ohman.

The PHS Band played “National Emblem” and “Star Spangled Banner,” and the Concert Choir sang “America The Beautiful” and “American Anthem.” Students Jack Benedict and Emily Carbaugh played Taps after the rifle salute by VFW Post 5612.

Riverview Middle School

The Riverview Middle School program featured the color guard from Ladewig-Zinkgraf American Legion Post 243, who stood when their branch was mentioned during the playing of the Armed Forces Medley.

The address was given by Karen Degner, who assists military families. She outlined the history of Veterans Day and talked about the sacrifices made by veterans. “To me, every day is Veterans Day,” she told students. “Without them, we would not have the freedoms we enjoy.”

Kristan Orvis, sign language in- terpreter, led Taylor Lembrich’s sixth-grade class in signing the “Star Spangled Banner.” The eighth-grade chorus, led by classmate Kai Gahagan, sang “God Bless the USA.” The program ended with a rifle salute and the playing of Taps.

Parkview Elementary School

The Parkview Elementary School program also featured the Post 243 color guard, and ended with a rifle salute and the playing of Taps.

During the program, students said the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the National Anthem, watched a video about the meaning of the word “veteran,” listened to fourthgraders give a history of Veterans Day, and observed a moment of silence.

Fairview Elementary School

Fairview Elementary School kindergarten teacher Kevin Jahnke created a display in the school hallway that tells the story of his active duty in the Navy from 1987- 1991. The display, which took about seven hours to put together, includes uniforms, equipment, artifacts and mementos, many of which are labeled so students can understand their significance.

Jahnke enlisted when he was 17 years old and left for basic training one week after high school. As an aviation supply specialist, his job was to identify and locate aircraft parts and have them delivered to remote areas of the world as needed for repairs.

He was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Md., about an hour outside of Washington, D.C., with an aircraft squadron named “VXN-8” and nicknamed “World Travelers.” The P-3 aircraft flew missions around the globe collecting oceanographic data. The equipment on the aircraft could find information about deep sea currents and temperatures, as well as locate and identify objects through polar ice, deep waters, and through hard ground. When Operation Desert Storm began in 1990, the mission of the World Travelers was modified to support the war effort.

Plymouth School District veterans

Employees of the Plymouth School District who are veterans include:

Kurt Adams, groundskeeper, Army 1976-82

Josh Batzner, Riverview fifth-grade teacher, U.S. Army Reserve 1997-2002

Pam Brink, Parkview food service, Air Force 1986-88

Todd Hunt, Horizon principal, Army 1991-95, Reserve 1995-99

Kevin Jahnke, Fairview first-grade teacher, U.S. Navy 1987-91, Reserve 1991-95

Todd Kronberg, schools resource officer, Navy 1984-88

Richard Seefeldt, Riverview custodian, Air Force 1976- 80

Jake Sherman, PHS technical education teacher, National Guard 2001-09, deployed to Iraq 2005-06

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