The parking lot was full at Hinsdale High School for last Tuesday's Memorial Day program presented by the town's elementary students.
Students dressed themselves in patriotic attire – red, white and blue – and sang several songs to honor America's veterans. The students recited songs and poems from memory during the program that was taught to them by their classroom teachers or chorus teacher, and veterans in the audience stood when asked to be recognized for their service.
"While the teachers play a big role in preparing the students, we try to let the students run the program and take as much ownership as possible," said Principal Joseph Boggio. "Our staff feels very strongly that as teachers we need to help build civic pride in our students and honor those who have placed themselves in harm's way."
At the beginning of the program there was a flag salute by the Post 5 American Legion Color Guard. Then, all of the students, faculty and audience members sang the "Star Spangled Banner." Some proud parents snapped photos of their children standing as they recited all of the lyrics from memory. Even the Pre-K students sang a song on their own from memory called "We Love Our Flag."
Other songs and poems were performed such as "Our Flag" and "Grand Ole Flag" by kindergarten and first-grade classes. Then, three fifth-grade students – Maya Cushing, Samara Clark and Eli Saari-Rosa – explained the meaning of Memorial Day and gave an introduction to the Armed Forces Medley.
"It is very much a lesson in the important history our armed forces have played in our nation," said Boggio. "I have had many people come up to me who have been in the armed forces and expressed their appreciation for it."
Boggio added that he enjoyed seeing children learn multiple songs in honor of Memorial Day and he took pleasure in seeing how much time teachers put into coaching and cheering their students on to do their very best.
One of the busiest and most involved pieces of the program was the Armed Force Medley. Each grade sang a song that honored a different military branch and veterans in attendance were asked to stand during the song that coincided with their service. Capping off the program was the third-grade class singing "America The Beautiful."
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275.