Excelsior Springs Middle School marked Veteran’s Day with a special assembly on Friday morning attended by students, faculty, and guests. The school band set the tone for the event by playing a selection of patriotic songs.
A key moment in the assembly was the speech by Missouri State Representative Doug Richey. Richey, who served as a combat engineer in the Missouri Army National Guard, shared insights from his military experience and its impact on his perspective on life. He highlighted the importance of knowledge and history in his address. To engage the students, Richey used three props – a baseball glove, a debit card, and a history book – and posed a question about their relative value, emphasizing the significance of understanding history and the importance of education.
The ceremony also featured the presentation of the Patriot’s Pen Award, coordinated by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter. Ron Wetzel, a leader of the VFW, announced the recipient of the award. The Patriot’s Pen competition, organized annually by the VFW, invites middle school students to explore America’s history and their place in modern society through essay writing. Participants from sixth to eighth grade compete for state and national awards, culminating in a national first-place prize of $5,000.
First place was awarded to Samantha Shoemaker for her insightful essay. Celee Hershberger and Emily Miller secured second and third places, respectively. Honorable mentions were given to Amora Simmons, Delaney Hudson, and Jasper Ferriss, recognizing their exceptional contributions to the competition.
1st Place Samantha Shoemaker
2nd Place Celee Hershberger
3rd Place Emily Miller
The assembly and the school’s participation in the Patriot’s Pen competition were both organized by Gina Calvin, a language arts teacher at Excelsior Springs Middle School. Several members of the American Legion and VFW were present, adding to the commemorative atmosphere of the event.
The assembly served as a tribute to veterans and a platform for encouraging young minds to delve into and appreciate American history and values.