ARCANUM — Arcanum-Butler Local Schools eighth grade student Alli Whiting won first place in an essay contest about Veterans.
She read her winning essay during a Veteran’s Assembly Thursday, November 9, in the school gym. The following is part of her essay.
“Not a lot of people can pick a veteran out from a crowd. They don’t walk around showing their medals or brag about what they had experienced. A veteran can be a grandpa, mom, dad, brother or sister. These ordinary people become veterans because they possess the honor, bravery and humility that they need to stand up for their country. These men and women represent everything that we fight to protect; everything we value in life.”
The guest speaker was Corporal Silas Weibel, of Ashland, who served in the U.S. Marines four years. He was stationed in Central and South America, and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He is an honor graduate of the Engineer and Leadership School. He and his twin brother Mason joined the Marines with two other classmates from Mapleton High School, in Ashland, in 2013.
“I grew up in a big family that gave me strong attributes and responsibility which set forth a good background for my future,” Corporal Weibel said in part. “That really prepared me for what I was going to get myself into. A lot of people have different reasons, some want to get away from their home town, some want to pay back or keep their friends safe. When I initially joined, I was in the same shoes as some of the students here – a young kid, full of energy and nothing to lose, except my homework that I didn’t do all weekend and waited until first period on Monday. I wanted to prove myself to my town, country, family, and the world. What does a 17-year-old do? I put my John Hancock on that dotted line. I literally didn’t have a clue what I was headed for in my young, cocky and arrogant mind.”
“Why do we celebrate Veteran’s Day?” Corporal Weibel asked. “I believe there are a million reasons and thoughts, because there are millions of veterans and families. But one word comes to mind: Courage.”
The assembly was hosted by Arcanum Schools Intervention Specialist Eric Weibel. Other events included: Posting of the Colors by the boy scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts and brownies; the Pledge of Allegiance; the “National Anthem” and “God Bless the USA”, performed by the High School Band; “Tribute to the Troops” performed by the High School/Middle School Choir; a reading of the story of the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” by History Teacher Todd Gruell and a reading of essays from essay contest winners: Third Place, fifth-grade student Alexis Gibbons; Second Place, seventh-grade student Aiden Psczulkoski and First Place, eighth-grade student Alli Whiting. In addition, the second grade classes presented more than $500 to the Wounded Warrior Fund. They raised the money by selling baked goods every day during lunch.
The assembly ended with a moment of silence during a playing of “Taps”, followed by a reception. Arcanum High School Principal Jason Stephan extended a greeting to the veterans, student body, teachers, staff and guests.
“Veterans Day means never forgetting those who came before us,” he said in part. “They stepped up to the challenge and paid their price in blood, sweat and tears. Their bravery, dedication and courage were astounding. They answered a call when needed, knowing full well they may not return. We celebrate Veterans Day by gathering together to express our respect and high regard for the men and women who have served and sacrificed to keep us free.”
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