Saturday, April 20, 2024

Take A Veteran to School Day – Coronado Middle School’s Beautiful Tribute to Veterans

Veterans arrive for Take A Veteran to School Day
Coronado Middle School Students line up to honor the veterans for the Line of Gratitude

Coronado Middle School (CMS) hosted active duty military and veterans for breakfast at its annual Take A Veteran to School Day, Wednesday, November 8th. Military kids were joined by their Veteran parents and friends for a delicious breakfast and a program that included remarks from City Council members John Duncan and Mike Donovan followed by a beautiful performance of How do you tell a Veteran ‘Thank You‘ sung by the Advanced Performing Arts students.

WWII Veteran Andre Chappaz watches as the students sing a heartwarming rendition of  ‘How do you tell a Veteran Thank you.’

John Duncan kicked off the program saying, “We really do appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifice of everyone that serves, and we feel it, and I wanted to make sure today we recognize the veterans and service members, and that we also thank the children and families that also sacrifice. Thank you so much for your service.”

Council members John Duncan and Mike Donovan smile for a photo with Veterans and a representative from Spectrum who sponsored the event.

Mike Donovan followed it up by saying, “I want to thank the school district for hosting this event to recognize our Veterans and Active Duty members that are the family and friends of our students here at the middle school.”

Granzer Hall was filled with service members and their families to enjoy the program.

Two World War II Veterans were the guests of honor and provided brief remarks prior to commencing the walk through the Line of Gratitude.

Andre Chappaz speaks to the crowd about his service in WWII.

During breakfast I asked WWII Army Veteran Andre Chappaz why he came to the event and he said, “I love coming to these events. I am 98 years old, who can you relate to at that age? So I love coming here, it brings back a lot of memories. I like to get out of the house and be with people.” Andre served in the Army’s 1885th Engineer Aviation Battalion during the war, he spoke of his time with the Corps of Engineers helping build airfields in Guam, and served around the South Pacific.

US Navy Veteran Gil Nadeau talks with John Duncan.

U.S. Navy Veteran Gil Nadeau spoke to the crowd saying, “Andre and I love coming to this school to talk with you, when we go to other schools the children there are not from military families and you students are so you have an understanding of what we might be telling you, and that is wonderful.” Gil shared funny stories about his experience on the ship in the South Pacific and compared it to the ships today, saying how small and slow it was. He shared that when he joined the Navy at age 16 he did it because the United States was in a World War. After Pearl Harbor was attacked Gil said everyone wanted to serve, to fight and “kick butt” and then get back to normal lives. He talked about how there were no women in the Navy when he served, then commented on having talked to a female Navy Captain just that morning. There were a number of military women service members in the audience with their children, symbolizing just how diverse the military has become since those days.

Veterans and their children walk through the Line of Gratitude

“This event is sponsored by Spectrum and we appreciate their support for making this a possibility and making this happen,” shared CMS Principal Brooke Falar. Take a Veteran to School Day is a key component of The HISTORY Channel’s outreach to honor, recognize and support veterans and military families. The 13th annual event honored veteran guests with a heartfelt “thank you” for their service.

Coronado Middle School Students line up to honor the veterans for the Line of Gratitude

After the remarks, all of the veterans and active duty members were invited to walk through the Line of Gratitude on Cutler field where the students waved flags and thanked the veterans while the CMS Band played the service hymns.

Veterans and their kids smile for a group photo at the conclusion of the event.

Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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