The principal at Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen felt like a proud parent as she watched fifth graders commemorating Veterans Day.
The students organized and hosted a brunch for veterans, most of whom were connected to students at the school. Principal Ann Hudson was pleased that students spent time really listening to what the veterans had to say.
“My kids, my teachers, our veterans,” Hudson said as she surveyed the school’s cafeteria where each table had several veterans and students. “They are genuinely interacting. This fills my heart.”
Fifth-grade teacher Kelly Walker explained that the students wanted to plan a service project that involved more than just the school. The brunch included 38 fifth graders and 22 veterans, plus parents who provided the food. The veterans were from all branches of the military, some serving in war, others serving at other times.
Students made signs and cards saying things like, “You are my hero for your bravery and sacrifices to our nation,” and “Your service means a lot to us.”
Devin Dupaix, who served in the Marines before joining the Army reserves, had breakfast with his son Drake, who is an RMAE student. Devin said he was grateful that the fifth graders organized the brunch, especially their effort to host several older veterans.
“I’m glad they still do these things,” Devin said, noting that his participation in similar events as a young student helped motivate him to join the military.
Charlotte Wesling and her husband Mark, who served in the Navy, attended the breakfast. Charlotte brought a picture of Mark in his uniform, and the couple had no problem chatting with the students.
“I love to see that this generation is being taught to respect veterans and show their appreciation,” Charlotte said.
Fifth graders Keely Hartford and Camilla Park were tasked with welcoming the veterans to the brunch.
“We wanted to thank the veterans for coming,” Keely explained. “They have done everything. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”
Camilla added that the veterans were willing to sacrifice themselves for the country.
“It’s a debt we can never repay,” she said, noting they were great examples of the Core Virtues the school embodies including respect, responsibility, self-discipline, courage, love of country and faithfulness.
Veterans from each branch of the military stood to applause during the brunch.
Pete Boldrin, a Vietnam-era veteran and grandfather of some RMAE students, was pleased with the breakfast and the respect the students showed him and other veterans.
“This is the best group of kids,” he said. “I’ve never seen a more beautiful bunch of kids.”