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Special to the News
In the week leading up to Veterans Day, the Student Government Association provided a veterans education program in each of the history classes at the high school.
Veterans education coordinator Kali Snell and her helpers shared the history of Veterans Day, showed an inspirational video clip, and then led students in creating Veterans Remembrance Ribbons and “thank you” notes. The ribbons and thank you notes were handed out to veterans at the Coosa County Schools Veterans Program, as well as veterans programs around the county.
The 2023 Coosa County Schools Veterans program opened with a welcome from newly elected SGA president, Rebekah Burton, who also served as the emcee for the event. Rebekah announced the posting of the colors by the Central Honor Guard, followed by the “Pledge of Allegiance” led by sixth graders Amaria Gadddis, Nivea Gaddis and Tristan Harkins.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was played by the Central band and sung by the third through fifth grade choir, directed by Mr. Daryl Ingram. SGA veterans education coordinator, Kali Snell, shared the symbolism in the Remembrance Ribbons made by the students at Central High School; the blue ribbon symbolizes those who have served in the military, and the red ribbon symbolizes the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. Kali then led the SGA members in reciting the poem, “Veterans Day.”
Sixth graders Nathan Guzman, Alona Shehan, Chloe Smith, and Bentley Williams then shared the significance of each item on the Fallen and Missing Soldiers’ Table. Then Ingram led the elementary students in performing “An American Song.”
Next Rebekah introduced the guest speaker for the program, Dr. Anthony Simmons, U.S. Navy, retired captain. Simmons is a native of Coosa County with a distinguished career of military service which includes four command tours: a patrol coastal, USS Hurricane, two A.E.G.I.S Destroyers, USS Lassen and James E. Williams, and Destroyer Squadron Two. Ashore, he developed human resource strategies at the Bureau of Naval Personnel and served at the Pentagon on the staff of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations as a strategic planner and resource officer.
In addition, Simmons served three combat tours in Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Operations Enduring Freedom and Enduring Resolve. He was awarded myriad campaign and meritorious service medals to include the Southwest Asia Service Medal, with two bronze stars, and Kuwait Liberation medals.
His message emphasized the importance of education, hard work and perseverance through failures in order to succeed. Central Coosa Schools is thankful to Simmons for traveling back home to share his advice and wisdom with our students, as well as his service to our nation.
The audience was then treated to a PowerPoint that featured veterans with ties to Coosa County, both past and present.
Sixth graders Tymetrius Culpepper, Lily Howell, Jamarlin Russaw, Kaden Tindall, and MaryAnn Ward recited the creeds of each of the branches of the military. The band closed out the program by playing each of the service medleys with veterans standing as their particular service medley was played.
Thank you to all our veterans who were able to attend; we are thankful for your service and the opportunity to honor you. Also, thank you to everyone who worked to make the program a special tribute to our veterans; it exemplified a truly collaborative effort of both the students and staff from Central Elementary and Central High School. Thank you to PTO president Maressa Ware for providing photos.