Ethan Strause

Brandywine Heights Middle School opened its doors to the community on Nov. 9 for the school’s 19th annual Veterans Day Assembly.

This event showcases some of the strongest and inspirational people and stories from around the community. The number of preparation students put into the event itself is undoubtedly impressive. In class students paired up with one another and engaged in making posters and writing essays to compete in making the most thought out portrayal of feats veterans have to overcome in today’s society.

This assembly provides a great sense of pride and some much-needed recognition for these veterans and a sense of reality to the students in the school. This gathering between the generations really puts a face to the valiant heroes we are taught of. Branching these generations in such an environment can be the steps to a more united and understanding group of leaders dealing with veteran affairs in the United States.

The students were assigned a prompt for their essays on the solution to veteran homelessness in the United States. The answers to this question were obviously well thought out because the sophisticated answers from the winners were nothing less of great proposals. The ideas of certain shelters that could be put together in a different fashion and the use of funding statistics in their essays displayed a refreshing tone of intelligence in the younger generations.

The musical production went all out as well for this event. The Brandywine Heights High School Marching Band performed led by Ben Schwenk as the group’s drum major and Benjamin Saltzburg as the conductor. The assembly also had performances by the Middle School band, choir, and select choir. Mrs. Nancy Chmielewski is the choral director at the Middle School performed a piece of her own as well. The music production gave off a very welcoming aura and seemed engaging to the audience.

The most meaningful part of the entire assembly was when Dave Merkel of Kutztown spoke about his program, Cans for Kids which he started in 2010 and has raised more than $40,000 for children and families in need.

Merkel was also presented with the most honorable award from the afternoon, the Patriot Award, presented by Sen. Judy Schwank. Merkel described his winning of the award a “priceless moment,” but in truth what could be described as a priceless moment is seeing him up on stage telling these kids of how they can help one another.

Every year this event brings us one step closer to a more thoroughly bonded community.

Ethan Strause is a sophomore at Brandywine Heights High School. He is an intern for Northern Berks Patriot Item.

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