On Wednesday morning, November 8, Chatham Charter School held activities honoring military service. The annual event began in 2015 for high school grades and has expanded over the years to include additional activities for elementary and middle school students. It allows the school to express appreciation for those who serve their country and helps students become more aware of aspects of a military career.
The day began at 7:00 am with a group of students, staff and veterans lining the school driveway with American flags as a special volunteerism and service project to honor a student who passed away in May of 2018. Jeremiah York was very patriotic and would have enjoyed helping honor veterans with the flags.
Guests enjoyed a “meet and greet” as they arrived. One group of veterans then visited elementary classrooms and read military-themed books to the students. Many teachers had taught related lessons leading up to the event. Another group of veterans spoke to high school students about their experiences and how skills they learned in the military helped them be successful in civilian life and careers. A unique feature of the 2023 event was a military wife who joined virtually from the Middle East as one of the rotation speakers. Middle school students had activity-based stations that highlighted topics such as first aid, map reading, physical training, and the phonetic alphabet.
Afterwards, there was a ceremony on the baseball field attended by guests and upper grades. The Eastern Randolph High School Junior ROTC opened with the Presentation of Colors. The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, performed by the combined Chatham Charter bands, followed. Guest speaker Bill Haiges, a Navy veteran whose idea inspired the campus event, spoke about the value of serving others and encouraged students to work to their full potential. Event coordinators recognized participants by branch and also school alumni who are affiliated with the military. Two alumni were among the event guests. The bands concluded the ceremony with a “Salute to Service” medley.