GREENLAND — Central School honored its town’s servicemen and women from all branches of the U.S. military at its annual Veterans Day assembly on Friday morning.
In addition to the tradition of honoring veterans at the assembly, the school also collects “Treats for Troops” in the weeks leading up to it. Students and their families bring in items for soldiers stationed abroad, such as snacks, toiletries and fun items such as cards, chess and checkers sets, footballs and soccer balls. For the first time, this year’s collection included 466 pounds of Halloween candy donated by students and their families.
The massive treats collection is packaged and shipped abroad by the Pease Greeters, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to welcoming every flight of men and women in the Armed Forces who pass through Portsmouth International Airport on their way home from or to conflict areas.
Principal Tamara Hallee began her opening remarks by thanking Sheila Pratt, a retired staff member who taught at Central School for 40 years. Pratt organizes the event each year and is an active member of the Pease Greeters. Hallee also thanked the families who donated the candy.
Physical education teacher Stacey Gosselin built upon efforts made by individual classes in the past to collect Halloween candy for the troops, and made it a school-wide effort this year. To motivate students, she offered a “free choice” day to the top classes. For one class period, each of the top three donor classes will choose their PE activity, such as capture-the-flag.
There were speeches of tribute, music performances by students and staff, inspiring short videos about the nation’s military history and the entire student body sang to the veterans at the end.
Superintendent Salvatore Petralia thanked all who contributed to the event and remembered his father who served in World War II, including the invasion of Normandy.
Pease Greeters Chairman Frank Lasorsa directed his remarks to the young students in the room. One day they will understand the sacrifices made on their behalf, and the sacrifices made by the families of those who served, as he came to understand later in life, he said.
Greenland veterans and their loved ones, many of them students, enjoyed a reception hosted by the school and its families after the assembly.