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During the West Campus' Veterans Day assembly Nov. 9 in the school gym, the middle school's band - directed by music instructor David Foster - performs (foreground), while listening are West students (grades K-8, in the bleachers) and members of the public, including a number of military veterans (in chairs on the gym floor).

Photo essay: West Campus' Veterans Day assembly spotlights two who served in World War II

Members of the West Middle School drama club perform a vaudeville-style skit in which students told corny jokes about America's founding and danced to "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
       An all-school West Campus assembly Nov. 9 celebrated Veterans Day.
       Helping educate students about the cost of American freedom, two World War II veterans came to the combined Westside elementary/middle school at 1920 W. Pikes Peak Ave. to be part of the 45-minute event in the gym, Also participating was the Honor Guard from American Legion Centennial Post 209, which formally brought in the colors for the occasion and (at the end) removed them.
       Another highlight was the donation of $267 raised by students to the Honor Flight of Southern Colorado, an all-volunteer organization that has flown 134 older vets (chiefly from World War II) to Washington, D.C., to visit major national monuments and be officially thanked for their service by high government officials.
       Nancetta Westcott, an officer on the Honor Flight of Southern Colorado board of directors, accepted on its behalf. “Every single dime is appreciated,” she said of the student donation. “It helps us take one more veteran to D.C.”
       Nancetta also spoke for her father, Barlow Westcott, 96 (saying he was having
West Campus Principal Shalah Smith holds the microphone for World War II veteran Clyde Wormer. Seated at right is District 11 Superintendent Nick Gledich. Also present from the school district (not shown) was Deputy Superintendent Mary Thurman.
throat issues). He was an Air Force mechanic whose military career started in 1940 and took in World War II as well as Korea and Vietnam before he retired as a senior master sergeant in 1967. “Our family is very proud of him," she concluded, with her dad standing next to her.
       The other veteran speaker was Clyde Wormer, who served at Pacific Fleet Headquarters during World War II. Pointing out that it has been 70 years since the end of WW II, he told the students of an assembly he had attended when he was young that featured a veteran from the American Civil War. “It was 70 years after the Civil War, “ he said, and expressed the hope that 70 years from now there would not need to be an assembly highlighting an American veteran who had fought in a conflict of similar magnitude.
       The West assembly also included performances by the school band, led by David Foster; the choir, led by Deena Smith; and a skit by the West Middle School drama club, in which students told corny jokes about America's founding and danced to “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
       West Principal Shalah Sims introduced five West staffers who have served in the military themselves.
       This is the third year West has held a Veterans Day assembly, open to the public. The concept was originated in 2013 by Sims' predecessor, Judy Hawkins, who at that time commented, “That's something we need to do, to know how to honor our veterans. It's very important to teach our kids that level of values, that we're here because of their service.”
Sept. 16... LEFT: Nancetta Westcott speaks on behalf of her father, three-war military veteran Barlow Westcott, standing beside her, during the West Campus assembly. She was also representing the Honor Flight of Southern Colorado, accepting a $267 donation from West students.. RIGHT: The Honor Guard from American Legion Centennial Post 209 brought in the colors for the occasion and (at the end, as seen in this photo) removed them. They are (front to back) Candy Freeman (Navy), Ken Taylor (Air Force), Eric Testorff (Air Force) and Jeremy Boltjes (Army).
In front of a poster saying "Thank you, vets," several West students take turns giving short comments expressing gratitude for the service of American military veterans.

Westside Pioneer article and photos
(Posted 11/15/15; Schools: West Campus)

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