And this years assembly was the absolute best I've seen in eight years at The School.
It. Was. Amazing.
We had the band play. We had the color guard from the High School Down the Road. We honored our teachers, staff and bus drivers who are veterans. We had the appropriate dignitaries (including some of the mucky-mucks from Downtown). However, the most popular dignitaries were the six soldiers from our local military post (all combat veterans by now, and one walking with a cane) who recited the Soldier's Creed in unison. Many of my homeroom kids were able to shake hands with them afterwards and were really delighted to report back that they had done so.
But the kicker was the kids themselves.
Over the past month or so some of our English teachers in both 7th and 8th grade have been working on a patriotism unit. Considering how many of our kids have family members who have served overseas, or are currently serving, and the fact that we have two who have lost a close family member to combat (father and uncle), this is a really emotional subject for our kids. One of the things that the kids brought up was that many of their peers didn't stand and honor the flag the way they thought they should during our morning Pledge of Allegiance.
That has now changed. Because our kids asked everyone who they stood for when they stood for the Flag.
As part of the ceremony, the thirty plus kids from the 8th grade advanced English class came down from the stands with American flags and one by one they came across the stage with their flag. And each one stopped, and spoke into the microphone.
"I stand for my grandfather."
"I stand for my uncle."
"I stand for my brother."
"I stand for my sister."
"I stand for my mom."
"I stand for my step-dad."
"I stand for my dad."
And the last kid for each grouping would add, "If you have a grandfather/father/mom, etc. who served in the military please stand with me and remain standing."
It didn't take long before the entire gym was on their feet.
And then the local Marine Corps representative played Taps.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house. And that includes the kids.
The kids are still talking about what an awesome assembly it was. And parents who came have emailed expressing how moved and astonished they were at the assembly. And today, when we said the Pledge, I looked around my room and noticed that they were standing straighter, they were focused on the Flag, and they were a bit louder when it came to the pledge.
The Principal, however, topped it off with her email. "The policy makers probably don't realize that we can't test or make a standard about some of the things we teach our kids. Today, we've taught them alot about respect, and honor, and patriotism. And that's what makes them good citizens. And no one can measure that on a bubble test. Keep that in mind when you're feeling pressured about standards and testing and high stakes. You all teach them so much more than what's on your curriculum. You teach them how to be good people."
Thank you to all my veteran readers. God Bless.