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Students honor those who served

Brown School hosts ceremony paying tribute to local vets

Brown School fourth-grader Isabel VanDerveen talks to Michael DellaRocco after the Veterans Day ceremony at the school on Friday, Nov. 9.

Brown School fourth-grader Isabel VanDerveen talks to Michael DellaRocco after the Veterans Day ceremony at the school on Friday, Nov. 9. Photo by John Purcell.

— Astemborski said Veterans Day is a very emotional time for her, but she is also very proud of her son for his service. She said care packages or cards from children held the most meaning while he was deployed.

Blue Star Mothers Capital Region President Janet Moran said the organization acts as “a support group for moms” alongside supporting active duty soldiers and being active in the community.

Moran said Veterans Day helps the public remember veterans and bring attention to supporting active duty soldiers. Seeing young students honor veterans is “wonderful,” she said.

“It is wonderful the children are learning about the veterans,” Moran said. “It is the kids that are going to have to remember in the future.”

Brown students recognized veterans in different ways at the ceremony. One project was to place stars on a world map denoting all the places members of the Brown School community and their families had served.

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Brown School students complied information on a map of where members of the school community and their families had served, with stars denoting each location.

“At Brown School we strongly recognize those who serve and protect our freedom,” said Patti Vitale, head of school, in a statement. “This is an opportunity for us to teach our students about the important role our servicemen and women play.”

The songs students sang were more than just melodies, too, because students learned the meaning behind the words. Jonina Wilkins, a music teacher, said she teaches students the official songs of military branches, which also are popular among students.

“They love to sing them,” Wilkins said. “For some reason, those songs, they just eat them up. I just think it is important for them to have that respect and I think the music helps them … to be thankful and grateful.”

Wilkins said she goes through the words in the songs with students and the history of the “Star Spangled Banner” to explain the meaning.

“I try to go into the context of all the songs so that they truly understand them and they are not just signing words and they have no idea what the words mean,” she said. “There are all kinds of cool knowledge hidden within the songs that I try to impart.”

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