Veterans Day offers teaching opportunity in the schools

While many schools close their doors for Veterans Day, local students embrace an opportunity to learn during a Veteran’s Day ceremony in the Middle School of Plainville gym on Monday. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

All throughout Plainville, the community came together on Monday in observance of Veterans Day. The Plainville Community Schools—one of the few districts that met on Monday, Nov. 11—used the day to teach their students about the meaning of Veterans Day, and to pay homage to local veterans.

“I think it’s important that they grow up recognizing the great sacrifice and contributions that people who have joined the armed forces have made for our country to protect our freedom [and] keep them safe,” said Matthew Guarino, principal of the Middle School of Plainville.

At MSP, Plainville High School, and Louis Toffolon Elementary School, veterans were treated to complimentary breakfasts. All five schools (including Linden Street School and Frank T. Wheeler Elementary School) hosted educational programs that incorporated veterans, active duty service members, and the students.

Outside of the middle school, the Plainville Fire Company proudly displayed the American flag, and inside, the firefighters took a moment to honor a veteran in their ranks—Peter Montana, who served in the U.S. Army.

“We’ve been doing this since the beginning, the past three or four years now, and we enjoy it,” said Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Moschini Sr. In his opinion, it’s important to host programs such as this in the schools, in order “to teach the kids about Veterans Day and what it’s all about, the sacrifices that they gave for their country.”

After recognizing all five branches of the military—Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy—with the playing of “Salute to Services,” MSP math teacher Melanie Olmstead lead those assembled in the white table ceremony, which pays tribute to the fallen and those who have yet to return home.

Active duty members relayed their experiences in the service, including Capt. Matthew Boski who explained the meanings of the patches on a service member’s uniform, and reminded students that real courage stems not from being fearless, but from using that fear to continuously push forward to do the right thing, even if it seems like the unpopular option.

Kayla Fortin, a second lieutenant in the Army, shared that the military has become her second family, saying, “You really meet a lot of great people, and you work together to get a single job done.”

Army Staff Sgt. Chris Couture said that he chose not to re-enlist after serving for almost 12 years in order to work on his civilian family, but even now he knows he can count on the family he gained through the military.

“I had their back and they had my back, we became family, and that’s a big thing that you learn in the military—you become a family,” said Couture, a MSP math teacher. “I have some really dear friends that I served with over my 11.5 years in the military, and I’m still friends with them still to this day.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.