By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Marlborough- Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School concluded its Military Awareness Week Nov. 8 by honoring veterans with a fully attended assembly in the gym.
The program began with the Assabet Valley Band playing “Stars and Stripes Forever.” A welcome address by Principal Mark Hollick encouraged everyone to thank a veteran.
“These men and women put their life on the line to protect us so we can go about our daily lives,” he said.
Participating in the program were students in the Marine Corps JROTC Club, Color Guard, representatives from Veteran's Inc., Rep. Matthew Beaton (R-Shrewsbury), Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), and Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant.
Student Leah Ambrosino, from Westborough, sang the National Anthem, and student Josh Thurlow, of Shrewsbury, read an original heartfelt poem. Another student from Shrewsbury, Deanna Hnilica, read an original essay she had written.
“Underneath these uniforms are the beating hearts of men and women who truly love their country,” she said.
This year marks the first time this program has been implemented in the school.
“Patrick Collins, the new superintendent here was in the Marines,” explained physical education teacher Bobby Corazzini. “Veterans” Day has a significant meaning for him and he wanted to bring awareness
to all of the students.”
Toward the end of the program, Beaton presented plaques to Assabet Valley staff who are veterans. Some served in the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army Air Force, and even the Portuguese Army. The staff members included Karl Reger, John Allard, Steve Pleau, John Nagleschmidt, John DeMember, Neil Mansfield, Jack Lage, Amy Fowler, and Jerry Pastner.
“This was the first Veteran's Day commemoration that we have had like this at Assabet, with the entire school assembled in the gymnasium, and I am so proud of our student body,” Principal Hollick said. “They sincerely grasped the solemnity of the event, and gave the staff members who served our country a standing ovation after they received their plaques. The students who performed in any way took great pride in what they were doing.”
The JROTC club is also in its first year at Assabet Valley, led by Retired Chief Neil Mansfield who teaches metal fabrication at the school.
“Next year this program will be a full program and not just a club. There has been so much interest. The Color Guard and flag detail are all JROTC members,” Mansfield said.
In concluding the program, Hollick said, “On Monday, Nov. 11, please take a moment out of your day to honor a veteran across the nation.”
That evening, more than 20 Assabet Valley staff members and students visited Veteran's Inc. in Shrewsbury to deliver personal care items donated by the students, as well as to serve dessert donated by the Culinary Arts Department.