Seward holds flag raising ceremony honoring local veterans

Florida. This annual event allows the students to hear the stories of local veterans first-hand.

| 22 Nov 2023 | 11:53

On Thursday, November 9, the S.S. Seward high school and middle school student councils hosted their annual flag raising ceremony in honor of Veterans Day. This has been a tradition at the school for about 10 years.

Seward Assistant Principal Amanda Collins reflected on the event, saying, “We were honored to have such a large group of veterans and their wives join us for the ceremony. The students appreciated hearing first-hand stories from the veterans and being able to thank each of them for their service to our country.”

Starting in mid-October, the HS Student Council begins organizing the event. Stephanie Reicherter, this year’s student council president, reaches out to local veterans to invite them to the ceremony and share their stories with the school’s students. The rest of the council begins soliciting donations for both local and national veteran organizations. The community is welcomed to sponsor an American flag and dedicate it to a veteran in their lives. A dedication card is tied to the flag, and the American flags line the entranceway and Great Lawn of Seward for Veteran’s Day! All the proceeds from the fundraiser are then donated directly back to the veterans. In years past, the proceeds have gone to the local VFW in Florida, neighboring towns, the Wounded Warrior Project, and more. This year’s proceeds brought in close to $700 that will be going to organizations such as these.

On the day of the ceremony, the Middle School Student Council, under the leadership of Mariah Sullivan, sets up a breakfast for the veterans to enjoy in the main lobby as they enter the school. The students donated coffee, muffins, bagels, donuts, fruit, and juice for the veterans and their spouses to enjoy. The members of both student councils greeted the veterans and chatted with them during breakfast.

When the ceremony began, the entire student population gathered on the Great Lawn and faced the flagpole. President Reicherter greeted everyone and thanked the veterans for coming. The officers of the MS Student Council then presented the veterans with the American flag, and the flag was raised. Upon the flag reaching the top of the flagpole, the S.S. Seward select choir, under the leadership of Mark Visconti, sang a rendition of the national anthem.

Assistant Principal Amanda Collins then stepped to the podium and spoke about the importance of this day and why we pause to remember our veterans every November 11. President Reicherter then welcomed three veterans — Thomas Fuller, Bob Scott, and JR Pillmeier — who spoke of their time in the service and the importance of giving back to the community and country.

To end the ceremony, the entire student population lined up to shake the hands of the veterans, who were thanked for their service.

Thanks also went to Florida UFSD superintendent Dr. Lisamarie Spindler and the SS Seward admin team of Michael Maesano and Amanda Collins for their help and support with this event. Additionally, a huge round of applause went to the Seward Buildings and Ground team, who worked to set up the equipment and ensure the school was ready for the ceremony.