Published in

November 15, 2023


On November 9th, Oak Hill Academy students, staff, and parents honored veterans during the school’s 23rd annual Veterans Day program.  Over 100 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade performed by creating various tributes, doing dramatic readings, singing, and playing instruments in the 2.5 hour production. A professional brass duo, and the Christian Brothers Academy Pipes and Drums also performed.

Patrice Murray, Director of Personnel/Administration, organized the annual program.  Each year, she chooses a theme that will educate the students on a different aspect relating to the service of our veterans.

This year, the themes were “The Navy Forest”, “OHA Letter to Soldiers” to Army National Guard with a special connection to Oak Hill Academy through math teacher, Ms. Brittani Schick’s boyfriend, Sergeant Zachary Allsopp who will be deployed in 2024; “Kyle Carpenter (USMC)”, “Ragged Old Flag,” “Christmas Truce,and “Make Your Bed” amongst the traditionalcore themes of “Who is a Veteran,” and the “History of Veterans Day”.

Started in November of 2001 after the tragic events of September 11, Miss Murray stated that “we (Oak Hill Academy) decided to recognize and honor those in the military who fought, and are still fighting, for our freedom and protection.”

Oak Hill Academy was honored to have West Point Graduate (’86), Special Agent in the FBI and Founder of J3 Global, Jim DiOrio, as its guest speaker. His message of hard work and making the most of your opportunities resonated with the students.

The United States Marine Corp Color Guard, Combat Logistic Battalion 25, 4th Marine Logistics Group lead by Sgt. Noel M Pietrowski, presented the colors at the opening of the program, with the Pre-Kindergarten leading the school in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Kindergarten leading the singing of “God Bless America”.  The “Star Spangled Banner” was performed by the entire audience under the direction of music teacher, Ms. Shannon Ryan.

Student readers defined who was a veteran and briefly outlined the history of Veterans Day. 

Our multitalented students and staff once again amazed those in the audience. The Oak Hill Chorus performed “America the Beautiful” under the direction of Ms. Shannon Ryan; 8th grader, Andie Sparano, played “Intermezzo” (Manuel Ponce) on the piano. Computer teacher, Mrs. Marie Geroni, created a slide show that had pictures and video that corresponded with each of the themes throughout the entire program.

Continuing to impress in the dramatic arts, students explained two significant stories from World War I and beyond.

The importance and story of the “Christmas Truce” was brought to the forefront. In 1914, German and English soldiers came together to share in the magic of Christmas by singing and playing soccer during World War I.  A short play depicting the journal entries of both German and English soldiers included singing “Silent Night” in both German and English was performed by 8th graders Max DeVivo and Aldan Philipson, as well as the history of the story narrate by classmates Amalia Souto, Annie White and Everly Coleman.

A group of 13 students reenacted a portion of Make Your Bed by (Retired) Admiral William H. McRaven. His message to our students and all in attendance was, “If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” This mini play ended with 8th grader, John Cizin, helping kindergartner, Julia Guenther, make her bed and placing her in it with her stuffed animal, Marshmallow.

Veterans who were in attendance were recognized throughout the program. As each veteran arrived, they were given pins to wear signifying their service to their country.  OHA students and staff had submitted the names of veterans in their families. As retired music teacher, Pamela Momyer played arrangements from Beethoven on the piano, the list of names was scrolling up on the 20-foot screen on the stage.

The CBA Pipes and Drums, led by Brother Frank Byrne, former President of CBA, marched in with bagpipes and drums.

As the brass duo of Mrs. Janet and Mr. Tom Bender accompanied by Pamela Momyer on piano, played the “Armed Forces Medley,” where the five service branch (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard) songs are played,

The veterans in the audience stood for their branch’s song. The audience gave a rousing applause to each group of veterans that stood for their song.

The playing of “Taps” along with a moment of silence concluded the program.

Head of School, Joseph A. Pacelli, a US Army veteran, stated that the Veterans Day program has become an important tradition at Oak Hill Academy. The youngest generation is learning about all of our veterans and the greatest generation, too. They have learned to honor, respect and revere those in uniform.

Oak Hill Academy is a NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades pre-kindergarten through eight. Oak Hill Academy is dedicated to a traditional, challenging, and caring learning environment that encourages comprehensive thought processes and deep understandings; thus promoting the wholesome intellectual, emotional, moral, and physical lifetime growth of our students. If you want to learn more about what makes Oak Hill Academy one of the best private school in NJ, visit us online at , or subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when we post more topics.


Article By Oak Hill Academy
Oak Hill Academy is a Monmouth County NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades per-kindergarten through eight.

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