Students honor veterans through Art and Essay contest

Published 11:17 am Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary (DAVA) Unit 17 recently spearheaded an inspiring initiative at Hunter Elementary on Stoney Creek, sponsoring an Art/Essay contest aimed at 5th and 6th-grade students. The theme, “My America; My Heroic Veterans,” encouraged students to craft essays or artwork centered around their family members who have served or are serving in the United States military.

Friday, November 10, marked a special ceremony at Hunter Elementary where winners of the contest were honored. Veterans who had children or grandchildren attending the school were invited to attend the ceremony, accompanied by their young relatives.

Aiden Feliciano claimed the first-place spot, earning a $75 gift card for his poignant essay highlighting his stepfather, Daniel McCloud, an honorable Coast Guard veteran. Selah Denton secured the second-place position, receiving a $50 gift card for her remarkable patriotic artwork. Evan Brooks, whose essay celebrated his mother’s service in the Coast Guard, earned the third-place distinction, rewarded with a $30 gift card. Adriana Tanner and Lola Guess received $15 gift cards each for their exceptional patriotic artwork, securing the fourth and fifth places, respectively. All winners received certificates, miniature flags, and patriotic bracelets.

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The event, coordinated by 5th/6th grade teacher Mrs. Amy Grubb, commenced with a warm welcome to attending parents and visitors. The ceremony included a Moment of Silence led by Ronan Quintana and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Kaine Taylor, both sixth-grade students. Gracie Hill, an eighth-grade student, delivered a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, followed by an inspired interpretive dance to “God Bless America” performed by Jayci Wilson, also an eighth-grader.

Becky Murray, Adjutant for Unit 17 DAVA, took the stage to present certificates to the winners, underscoring the importance of these patriotic contests. Murray highlighted the significance of young people understanding and appreciating their family members’ military service and the sacrifices made by the men and women in the military to safeguard the nation’s freedom.

The ceremony culminated with Murray inviting all veterans in attendance to stand and be acknowledged. The children on stage honored the veterans by presenting flags and bracelets while also handing out heartfelt cards drawn by second-graders at Hunter Elementary.

The program reached its emotional pinnacle as Aiden Feliciano passionately recited his winning essay, concluding a touching tribute to honor the brave veterans in the community.