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Honoring veterans

Valley View school honors local veterans

Union Leader Correspondent

November 10. 2013 8:57PM
Luke Cardinal, 8, of Farmington, dressed in an Army combat uniform as he and fellow third-grade students sing songs honoring the military during a brief ceremony at Valley View Community School to honor veterans on Friday. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)

FARMINGTON — While veterans have served all over the world, students and staff at Valley View Community School embraced the family connection by celebrating the teachers, children, parents and even great-grandparents who served.

As the elementary school is closed for Veterans Day today, they decided to once again invite area veterans and their families, to ceremonies at the school on Friday.

Kriket Pankey, who teaches third grade, said students work hard to prepare for the ceremonies, which include singing patriotic songs and military themes from all five branches while explaining what veterans mean to families in the area. "They really enjoy it — we only started it last year," Pankey said.

The highlight of the ceremony was the slideshow of photos submitted by students and staff of family memebers who are veterans. The veterans included those who served from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf War and the ongoing Global War on Terrorism. Each photo identified the veteran, what branch of the military they were in and how they were connected to someone at the school.

Luke Cardinal, 8, a third grader from Farmington, wore an Army combat uniform hat and shirt given to him by his friend Cassie, who served in the Army.

"The best part was the singing," Cardinal said.

First grade teacher Wanda Pelkey, who served in the U.S. Navy, explained how she learned about hard work and discipline, which continues to serve her well inside the classroom.

Michael Chute, 24, who served as a specialist in the U.S. Army, said he drove up from Stoneham, Mass., with his father and 3-year-old daughter, Lexi, to see his cousin, Jack Vittorioso, 7, a second grader from Farmington, give a brief speech about veterans.

Chute, who enjoyed watching the ceremonies with his extended family, earned a Purple Heart while deployed to Afghanistan. He added how grateful he was to return after seeing such abject poverty and strife overseas.

The ceremony allows the community to honor veterans and celebrate their service, according to Gary Mosher, commander of American Legion Post 60.

Mosher, who served during Desert Storm with the U.S. Navy, said local veterans are happy to support the school as they help with the annual parades. He added it's important to teach students and remind residents about veterans in the community.

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