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RANGELY I Moral focus assemblies at Parkview Elementary School address a different virtue each month, and in November, that virtue was gratitude.
Last Wednesday, the school invited local veterans to the assembly so that students could practice extending gratitude in person.
“We wanted to do something around Thanksgiving, around a feast, and around veterans,” said preschool and special education director Nedra Sandels, who helped organize the assembly. “I wanted to offer something to the schoolchildren they might not witness otherwise, something memorable during this time with our vets and troops away.”
The session was interactive, with veterans leading students in the Pledge of Allegiance, explaining what the American flag means to them, and conducting a flag-folding ceremony while Parkview principal Mike Kruger explained what each fold symbolized.
“I was pretty glad to accept the invitation,” Army veteran and Rio Blanco County Sherriff’s Office patrol sergeant Rich Garner said. “The kids seemed to really enjoy it.”
Veterans Rod Harris, John Kenney, Sr., and John “Hoot” Gibson also participated in the event.
After the Pledge, paraprofessional Sara Jackson and parent Mary Lou Sagasar sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” while preschool and kindergarten students signed the song’s lyrics. Students also made friendship bracelets and colored thank-you pictures that will go to local vets and soldiers on active duty overseas.
”It was a way to really bring the community together to honor our veterans,” kindergarten instructor Kari Way said.
Between 15 and 20 parents came to the assembly, Kruger said.
The weekly assemblies are an adaptation of a moral focus curriculum used at the National Heritage Academy in Ann Arbor, Mich., where Kruger was principal for three years. He says the assemblies help students master more than academic skills.
“The whole thing is to help the kids realize there are more things to learn than core subject areas,” said. “It helps them become well-rounded individuals who are positive, who will become good leaders, good followers, good parents, good citizens.”
Using skits, songs, or short talks, different classes present an aspect of the month’s virtue each week. Occasionally, like last week, guest speakers are invited to attend.
This semester’s virtues are wisdom, respect, gratitude, and self-control.