Veterans Day came early to Northern Heights High School during the school’s annual celebration and reception Thursday afternoon.
The event is sponsored by the NHHS Future Business Leaders of America as a way to honor area veterans each year, and features performances by the NHHS band and choir.
Business Teacher and FBLA Sponsor Cody Lindquist said this year’s program saw more school involvement, with a video featuring NHHS students sharing what veterans meant to them
“We’ve been doing interviews the last two weeks, asking kids what Veterans Day means to them,” Lindquist said. “We took footage of students wearing patriotic gear, we had footage of students during the Pledge of Allegiance during our morning assemblies. We had pictures from past Veterans Day celebrations from the yearbook and put together that video. I think it was a good way for them to get out what Veterans Day means to them without having to come up and speak.”
NHHS juniors and FBLA officers Mekenzy Lucas and MaKayla Scroggins said they were proud to be able to celebrate their community veterans each year.
“We want to let veterans know how much they mean to us,” Lucas said. “It means more because we have teachers here who are veterans.”
Paraeducator Angie Herrel was one of the veterans on hand for the celebration. Herrel served in both the US Navy and Air Force between 1985 — 2001.
“I was an aviation boatswain’s mate handler in the Navy, and in the Air Force I was a dental tech,” she said. “I enjoyed it totally, and I would tell any kid if they were wanting to do anything, military is a wonderful way to go.”
Herrel said joining the military helped her pay for school and decide on a career.
“I loved it and my son served, my son-in-law is still serving and my husband is retired,” she said. “I thought the program was wonderful. The kids did a good job and I loved that the kids enjoyed thanking us and honoring us.”
Jenna Herrington, NHHS’s school resource officer, served in the US Marines and Army Reserves between 2002 — 2017 in supply and logistics.
“I joined so I could be in the Marine Corps Band,” Herrington said. “I ended up not being in the band, which was ironic, but I still loved it.”
Herrington said life as a woman in the Marines was challenging at times.
“You have to try a little bit harder to keep up with the males at times, but it just feels that much better when you surpass them,” she said. “It’s fulfilling.”
Herrington said she also enjoyed the program, and hoped it would encourage students to ask questions about her military service.
Another new aspect of this year’s celebration was a school-wide poster contest.
“I wanted everyone thinking about Veterans Day before it came,” Lindquist said. “We sponsored a poster-making contest where we encouraged kids to put patriotic symbols and sayings on them and we got some great entries. They were all really well-done and it was hard to narrow it down to what was going to be judged.”
Four posters were selected to be shown during Thursday’s celebration, and visiting veterans were invited to vote on their favorite as they entered the high school.
Senior Morgan Rae Paige’s poster was chosen as the winner, earning her a $20 gift card.
Lindquist said invitations were sent out to veterans on a mailing list. Students, teachers and district staff were also able to bring in names of veterans they knew as well.
“It was cool to bring all this together, and I’m glad our veterans were here,” Lindquist said. “I’ve heard a couple of the students asking about service, so that’s really cool for the kids to realize that they’re being taught by veterans.”
Those wishing to be put on the mailing list can contact NHHS at 620-481-2087.