Holmes, West hold Veterans Day ceremonies

       Two Westside school buildings held special programs Nov. 8 in honor of Veterans Day.

Veterans Day ceremonies at two Westside schools Nov. 8... The ROTC Color Guard from Mitchell High stands at attention during the National Anthem in a joint assembly in the West Middle/ Elementary gym. Second from left is the main speaker, Master Sgt. (Retired) Franklin Clay.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Both Holmes and West used all-school assemblies, with West's consisting of students from its grades 6-8 middle school and K-5 West Elementary in the same building. Both also had choir and band music (the Star Spangled Banner among the songs) and a military member as a principal speaker.
       It was a first-time event for both buildings, and their respective principals expressed satisfaction afterward at the results.
       “That's something we need to do, to know how to honor our veterans,” said Judy Hawkins, who is a first-year principal of both Wests. “It's very important to teach our kids that level of values, that we're here because of their service.”
       The event also represented the first time the entire student body in the West building (more than 600 students from the two schools) had gathered for a joint assembly since the school started four years ago. Hawkins was pleased with that outcome as well. “I thought they did a good job,” she summed up.
       Holmes offered the additional touch of having close to 50 veterans on hand - a result of the school asking student households to invite friends or relatives who were military people, according to Holmes Principal Rob Utter. When the vets were asked to stand at the assembly (one was even from World War II), they received a loud and long standing ovation.

Veterans Day ceremonies at two Westside schools Nov. 8... Military veterans from the Holmes Middle School community stand to be recognized by the audience and Brigadier General Dana Capozzella (right), the keynote speaker at the all-school event in the Holmes gym.
Westside Pioneer photo

       “We definitely want to keep it going,” Utter said afterward, noting that as people left the assembly, 'they spoke highly of it.”
       But he also pointed out that because of limited space in the school gym, the event was publicized only within the Holmes community.
       The main speaker at West was Master Sergeant Franklin Clay (retired), who joked with the students about his lack of hair, but also advised them to keep up in school. “We have become a great nation because of great minds,” said the veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. And he instructed them, “Every chance you get, I want to see you in the library.”
       Also in attendance at West was former Air Force Academy Superintendent Winfield Scott Jr.
       At Holmes, Utter did not have to look far for a military speaker. His wife, Brigadier General Dana M. Capozzella, is the commander of the Colorado Army National Guard. Speaking with the invited veterans seated directly in front of her, she told the throng that Veterans Day (observed on Nov. 11 this year) is “not just another holiday… There is no praise that can match the service and sacrifice that our people in the service have given.”

Westside Pioneer article