MHS students step back in history, honor veterans
Published 10:05 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021
By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – Students at Montevallo High School have taken an active role this semester in learning about significant events in history and honoring those who have served their country in the military.
First, students helped organize a Revolutionary War Day on Friday, Nov. 5, followed by a Veterans Day program on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
During the Revolutionary War Day, 10th grade students from Anna Kate Meadows’ and Jase Goodson’s history classes experienced a small part of the 18th century by visiting a period encampment set up on the band practice field.
The theme of the day was “Food, Clothing and Shelter – Let’s see, touch and smell history,” and the encampment provided an appropriate backdrop with 1750-style French wedge tents, reproduction chairs, tables and eating utensils.
Students were able to see period clothing, perform Von Steuben historical military drills, observe musket loading and firing, and even smell and observe chicken being roasted on a period-style brazier rotisserie.
Michael Martin, a math teacher at MHS, helped orchestrate Revolutionary War Day. Martin is also a certified history teacher and vice president of the local Cahaba-Coosa Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
“This was our first time doing this,” Martin said. “While I did the display, it was Ms. Meadows’ and Mr. Goodson’s classes’ students participating.”
The next week, MHS held its Veterans Day program featuring two guest speakers: retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry McClain, a pastor, Army Ranger and Birmingham Business Journal Veterans of Influence honoree; and U.S. Army veteran Kenneth Paschal, who also serves as an American Legion Post Commander and the Alabama House District 73 representative.
MHS’s broadcast students simulcast the program to enable other students and community members to view it.
MHS Principal Steve Bromley thanked all veterans for their service.
“I am very grateful for all of the sacrifices you and your families have made to keep our nation safe from tyranny,” Bromley said. “To the families of fallen soldiers, we are forever indebted to the individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”
Martin shared the history behind Veterans Day and what differentiates it from Memorial Day.
“Veterans Day pays tribute to all veterans, living or deceased, but especially gives thanks to living veterans who serve their country honorably during war or peace time,” Martin said. “Every day, we have veterans out there in the field, protecting our freedoms. We commemorate all that have served and those currently serving.”
McClain led students in several exercises, demonstrating how to do a proper hand salute and testing their knowledge of Veterans Day facts.
He shared the acrostic “VET” and said it contains the following directives: V – value veterans and show them your appreciation; E – educate yourselves about what our military members do; and T – thank them every day.
Paschal described veterans as those who protect our freedoms as Americans: “It is the veteran, not the preacher, who gives us freedom of religion. It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of press. It is the veteran, not the court, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble. It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. It is the veteran who salutes the flag. It is the veteran who serves under the flag, to be buried by the flag, so the protester can burn the flag.”
MHS also displayed a “Missing Man” remembrance table in the cafeteria, a Veteran Wall of Honor and a Poppy Remembrance Wall.
Students raised $820 to give to the Blue Star Salute Foundation for Wreaths Across America, a non-profit organization whose mission is to honor fallen veterans by having volunteers place live balsam wreaths at their gravesites each year.
“I am so proud of these kids,” Martin said. “$820 for Wreaths Across America (making them a major sponsor), not to mention everything else they do, is a great accomplishment.”
Martin emphasized the students’ involvement in the program and additional components at the school designed to honor veterans.
“The key to our Veterans Day commemoration at Montevallo High School is student involvement,” he said. “We have many student organizations involved, and we also work with every student throughout our various classroom activities and displays throughout the week.”
Along with McClain and Paschal, special guests of the program included the Blue Star Salute Foundation, American Legion Post 131, District 14 Sen. April Weaver and Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks.
To view the program video, go to https://youtu.be/qMQ2sbpq5FQ. The electronic Veterans Remembrance Wall displaying the names and pictures of veterans that students have submitted, along with those in the city of Montevallo’s Main Street Veterans Banner program, go to https://bit.ly/MontVet.