By Hailey Blevins
Watauga High School is hosting its second-annual Veterans Appreciation Night Nov. 7 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the school’s auditorium. The event will feature performances from the marching band, chorus, JROTC and others. This event is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.
This is the second year WHS is hosting this event. Because this is also the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Veterans Day, WHS has opted to do things a bit differently from last year. Jesse Stollings, the key coordinator for the event and a veteran himself, says that because of this anniversary, the school is looking at the event from a more historical standpoint. “What we’re talking about doing is while we’re talking about those conflicts is allowing the veterans from that era to stand and be recognized.”
Last year, the school gave students the opportunity to read original poetry and share things at the event. Stollings noted that while art and poetry will still be shared, the students are also participating in the event in a different way this year. “ Individual students are going to be making display boards and doing oral presentations about different conflicts in American history during the ceremony.”
Students will also participate in the ceremony in other ways as well. The high school ROTC is going to be presenting the colors, the brass quartet from the band is going to play and the chorus is going to sing.
The school is doing everything they can to get students as involved as possible. “During lunches, students have an opportunity to leave notes for the veterans, and we share that with them, when they come in,” said Stollings. Working with these students and those who will be presenting at the event, Stollings has found that they’re all very excited about the opportunity and the event itself with some students asking if they can bring the veterans they know from the community.
The school has even thought about the time the event will take place. Stollings said that “because a lot of veterans have jobs and obligations, we chose to do something in the evening. Many students have activities during the day, and I think it’s really important the students be given an opportunity to understand all facets of history. This is part of our obligation to our students and community, so we encourage them to come out and participate in this and give the students a chance to show they appreciate what the veterans have done for them.”
As the event flyer says, it will be an evening to honor all who have served our country. Stollings encourages all veterans and their families to attend the event next Wednesday.
In addition to WHS’s Veterans Day event, these events are also going on:
- Nov. 8: Blowing Rock First Graders will present “A Salute to Veterans” in the school auditorium. Open to the community and veterans. For more information call the school at 828.295.3204
- Nov. 8: On November 8 at 1 p.m. (students and veterans) and 6 p.m. (parents, citizens and visitors), the Blowing Rock School first grade classes of teachers Kate Patterson and Missy Searcy will present a Veterans Day play. Patterson contacted Blowing Rock News to say that any and all veterans in the area are invited to hear and interact with the students who have spent hours practicing patriotic songs and rehearsing lines in the play.
- Nov. 9: The town of Blowing Rock is celebrating at 11 a.m. at the American Legion building, led by Lt. Col. William Parker (U.S. Marines, Ret.) and American Legion Post 256 Commander Albert Yount. Each year, many military veterans, business leaders, government officials and residents of Blowing Rock listen to poignant, commemorative stories and messages and sing patriotic songs.
- Nov. 10: Appstate’s Veterans Day 5k and Fun Run – The Scabbard and Blade Club and ASU ROTC will be hosting a Veterans Day 5k and Fun Run at State Farm field in Boone NC. All proceeds will be donated toward Operation K9 Rescue, a charity that helps pay medical bills for retired military working dogs and also helps them find their forever homes.
- Nov. 12: The High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America is hosting its annual Veterans Day celebration at 10:45 a.m. at Boone Mall.
- Nov. 12: Avery Rotary hosts 4th annual Veteran’s Day celebration at the Best Western in Banner Elk, starting at 11:30 a.m. This county-wide event will include a luncheon and special program for the veterans. Veterans and their family members receiving a complimentary lunch. Lunch will also be available to other guests for $8 per person.