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Take a Vet to School Production
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, November 16, 2011
PRESQUE ISLE—The entire Presque Isle Middle School (PIMS) sixth grade class produced an essay and talent presentation to honor veterans on Friday, November 4 in the Middle School auditorium.
The hour and a half presentation featured music, poems and video presentation all produced by the students to show their gratitude to the veterans.
Nearly two dozen veterans were in attendance, one of whom was Marine Corps veteran, Herbert Haines, from Fort Fairfield. “This show is very, very nice. The kids will see positive attributes in us veterans and grow up to be great children, some will even serve their country,” said Haines. “I believe they learned respect for their country and the principles it was founded on.”
The program was organized by PIMS sixth-grade teachers, Peggy Kelley and Gail Hagelstein. All 150 sixth grade students participated in this first-ever production. “We had absolutely no dress rehearsal, this was a wing-it program.,” said Mrs. Kelley. “We had worked on it off and on for six weeks. During lunch breaks or any spare time, the students split their time between Mrs. Hagelstein and me to develop their presentations.
Kelley says she combined Social Studies and English with this work study in an effort to give the children a greater frame of reference and appreciate for the veterans of this country. “The students are learning a lot of positive attributes, morals and values, They also learned acts of kindness, giving, caring and sharing,” said Kelley. “We focused on words such as loyalty, courage, bravery, freedom, discipline, trust, confidence, teamwork, and sacrifices.”
Kelley explained her approach can be summed up in the acronym; M.VEC—meaning Morals, Values, Ethics and Character.
While this show was the first produced by the students, they have been actively supporting current veterans for the past seven years. “Various soldiers overseas have received packages, cards and gifts from us over the years. Some came and talked to the students in person about the work they had done throughout the year and it really made a positive impression on the students.”
The 6th grade teachers involved with letters and gifts to the soldiers were: Erin Hoffses, Casey Johnson, Barry Wright, Nancy Watson. Ellen Helstrom, and Peggy Kelley.
The PIMS veteran’s program was held in conjunction with the Statewide “Take a Veteran to School Day,:” sponsored by the History Channel and Time/Warner of Maine. State organizer, Mike Edgecomb, formerly from Limestone and now living in Rockland, Maine spoke at the Middle School’s veteran’s production. “Time Warner Cable and History Channel are proud to bring this program to our schools. We do it throughout the nation, this is the second year we’ve been doing it in Maine. This is the first year that we’ve had this type of program here in the County.”
While this was the first time such a production was attempted on behalf of Take A Vet to School Day at the Middle School, Kelley anticipates it will become an annual event.
Group photo above: Reciting the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during Presque Isle Middle School's Take a Vet to School production were (from left): Tyler Levesque, Madelyn Wing, Max Bartley, Kasey Haley, Adam Patterson, Laura McKenna, Kimberly Cook, Sadie Kinney, Chrissy Skidgell, Emily Wheaton, Miranda Bragon, Kayla Saucier, and Maddison LePage.