Published in

November 12, 2021

OAK HILL ACADEMY HONORS VETERANS WITH ANNUAL PROGRAM

On November 10th, Oak Hill Academy students and carried on its tradition of honoring veterans during the school’s 21st annual Veterans Day program.  Over 40 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade performed by creating various tributes, doing dramatic readings, choreographing dance ensembles, and playing instruments.  A professional brass duo, and the Christian Brothers Academy Pipes and Drums also performed.

The Marine Academy of Science and Technology Color Guard presented the colors in precision at the opening of the program, while the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten led the school in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Under the direction of Oak Hill music teacher, Miss Hannah Dittloff, all those in attendance sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”

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 “How the board game Monopoly helped POW’s escape during WWII,” “Recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” and “How service animals help our Veterans” amongst the traditionalcore themes of “Who is a Veteran,” and the “History of Veterans Day”.

Oak Hill was honored to have Navy Second Class Petty Officer Michael Dowens speak during the program how his service dog, Emery, has helped him through his discharge from the military and dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Petty Officer Dowens, an Oak Hill Academy parent, demonstrated the commands he uses with Emery. He told the students that the Service Dog Vest that she wears means that she is working and must not be distracted by people trying to pet her. She has a mission and must stay focused. Once Petty Officer Dowens removed Emery’s vest, she became playful and ran around the stage! Once he put her vest back on, she went back to work and stood by his side!

The talented students and staff at Oak Hill were on display with Mrs. Bridget DeVivo’s tap dancers tapping to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Miss Dittloff’s chorus singing “A Thanks to Our Veterans,” and third grade teacher, Miss Amanda McTigue (accompanied by Mr. Tim DiDomenico) singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Computer teacher, Mrs. Marie Geroni, created a slide show of pictures to sync with the dramatic readings. Three students also showcased their piano playing talents.

Miss Murray’s brainchild came to be in November of 2001 after the tragic events of September 11th.   She decided that Oak Hill as a school should recognize and honor those in the military who fought and are still fighting for our freedom and protection.

In a year that schools are still following Covid protocols, attendance was limited to the students and staff.  As the brass duo of Mrs. Janet and Mr. Tom Bender accompanied by Mrs. Pamela Momyer on piano, played the “Armed Forces Medley,” where the five service branch (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard) songs are played, Miss Murray asked the faculty and staff to stand to honor a veteran from their family.

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

The Veterans Day program has become an important tradition at Oak Hill Academy.  Headmaster Joseph A. Pacelli, a US Army veteran, said that 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.

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Article By Peter Bruckmann

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