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Clarence Celebrates Veterans Day with Ceremony, Classroom Activities

A flag-folding ceremony is held in front of students and veterans. A student speaks into a microphone during a Veterans Day ceremony

The service of military veterans and their families was celebrated throughout the Clarence Central School District, as students learned about the value of patriotism and sacrifice.

Kim Spence watched eagerly in the gymnasium of Harris Hill Elementary School as her granddaughter, kindergarten student Lottie Spence, stood in front of her fellow students. Lottie had won a writing competition in her class to speak during the Veterans Day ceremony, and when asked for a word to describe military veterans, Lottie said “Brave.”

“It’s absolutely wonderful to see the flags around the school,” said Spence, the mother of Air Force Staff Sgt. Mark Spence, who died while serving in Italy in November 2007. “It’s important for students to have knowledge about our military, what they do, and how they dedicate themselves and give their lives for their country.” 

The Harris Hill Elementary School ceremony was one of many recognitions for veterans across the Clarence Central School District. Other tributes included a visit by Cmdr. Dan Ciullo of the Navy Reserve Center Buffalo to Clarence Center Elementary School, classroom readings at Sheridan Hill Elementary School and special Veterans Day announcements at Ledgeview Elementary School.

The Harris Hill ceremony has become a favorite for students, said principal Robert Boccaccio, and that enthusiasm was shared by veterans who attended the ceremony. In addition to musical performances, the event included a flag-folding ceremony with the 914th Air Refueling Wing from Niagara Falls, and a video presentation in which students spoke with their relatives who had served in our nation’s armed forces. 

Paul Duesing, who served in the Air Force for four years during the Vietnam War era, said he saw parallels between the “we and not me” ideals found in the school’s Husky Pledge and in his military service.

“We’re different people with different religions and backgrounds, but we come together as a team to do a job,” Duesing said, “I hope the children take that lesson for their own future.”

A student hugs their grandfather during a Veterans Day ceremony A military veteran takes a photo with his grandsons during a Veterans Day ceremony

Two students play the flute while accompanied by a teacher playing a drum. A student chorus sings together next to an American flag.

Students hold up Veterans Day artwork Students pose for a photo holding up a military-themed book.

A military officer speaks to an assembly of students