Baker Intermediate School honors veterans with program

Published 2:30 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

On a day and week when schools throughout Clark County could be respectfully seen honoring Veterans Day, Baker Intermediate School was no exception.

The school, located along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, honored those who have served and currently serve with its Veterans Day ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

“Today is a day we gather to honor and express our program and gratitude to the women and men who have served our country with unwavering dedication and selflessness,” said Principal Josh Mounts. “Veterans Day gives us an opportunity to pause, to reflect, and to thank our nation’s veterans.”

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At approximately 8:00 a.m., veterans were welcomed into the school’s cafeteria before the program started.

While there, they could enjoy a complimentary breakfast of eggs, sausage, hash brown potatoes and more.

Afterward, they were welcomed to gather in the school’s gymnasium, where students were led in one class at a time to bear witness – and in some cases participate – in the event.

Before Mounts spoke, the ceremony began with a Presentation of Colors by the Winchester Fire Department Honor Guard featuring several flags, including the American Flag and the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag.

The Baker Intermediate School Chorus, led by Stephanie Arthur, opened with the Star Spangled Banner, followed by a Pledge of Allegiance by P.E. and health Teacher Jessica Pedigo and her son, RJ.

After opening words, the BIS Chorus played a tribute to the Armed Forces.

During such, they sang the lyrics to the theme of each U.S. military branch: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

As they sang, those in attendance who had served stood and were applauded in appreciation.

The school held a poetry and essay contest before the event.

Pearce Chamberlain and Hunter Sadler, winners of the poetry contest and essay contest winner Kyleigh Hogan, thanked veterans for their service and explained what the day signifies to them.

The keynote speaker, Pastor Owen Moody of Richmond House of Prayer, then addressed the crowd and children in attendance.

A U.S. Army veteran himself, he emphasized what veterans have been willing to do in service to their country.

“The cause for freedom is a great cause. The cost for freedom is greater,” he said. “All the freedoms that you have were given to you by a soldier.”

Connecting to United States history, Moody also mentioned facts, such as that over half of U.S. Presidents have served in the military.

He also noted that, despite differences, America has stood firm.

“We do have some problems…but this is still the greatest nation,” Moody said. “I’m honored, always, to represent our great country, [the] great flag for which many of us have defended, and then to honor our veterans who are the true heroes of any generation.”

Moody was later awarded the first-ever Coy H. New Distinguished Veteran Award.

New, the grandfather of Mounts and a World War II veteran who often attended previous programs, passed away in October at 103 years old.

Additionally, several other events marking the ceremony occurred.

Bobby Stanfield, a student at BIS, would introduce the Missing Man Table, which symbolizes servicemen and women who have fallen, been missing, or imprisoned.

Led by instructor Matthew Leedy, the band performed a rendition they called the Freedom Finale.

Different students and staff led the 21 Thank You Salute, showing further appreciation to veterans.

And, in a touching tribute that moved several in the audience to tears, the Chorus finished with songs titled “Thank You, Veterans,” and “We Are Grateful.”

Assistant Principal Renee Ware offered closing remarks after playing “TAPS,” which saw numerous veterans stand and salute the flag from the beginning to the end of the song.

Asked what she hoped students took away from the event, Makayla Adkins – a sixth-grade language arts teacher and Coordinator of the Veterans Day program – spoke.

“I told the students earlier [that] as you grow older, you truly learn the value and the importance of our veterans and the world we’re in right now,” Adkins said. “I encourage them to keep that gratitude and thankfulness and to value our veterans as we push forward to a better tomorrow.”