Ahead of Veterans Day, students, administrators and additional volunteers adorned the lawns of Mepham High School and Merrick Avenue Middle School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District with dozens of flags.
At Mepham, its front school yard now displays nearly 150 American and military branch flags, installed at an event on Nov. 6.
In a fundraising effort led by Mepham social studies teachers Kerry Dennis and Chris Patten, students participating in the senior service-learning project sold flags to benefit the organization, Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Social Studies teacher Matt Moody, library media specialist Shari Stack and social studies chairperson Robyn Einbinder also assisted with the install.
So far, the students have raised $3,200 for the organization. An upcoming Penny Wars event will add to that total. The flags will remain on the school’s front lawn through early December.
Just a day prior, MAMS installed its Flag Field of Honor on Nov. 5 in recognition of veterans — a new tradition for the school.
The flags will be flown through Dec. 10 as a tribute to veterans. $2,450 in proceeds from sponsorships will be donated to Honor Flight Long Island for veterans, and the Bellmore-Merrick Community Cupboard.
“This is a wonderful way for our students to be able to reflect on the contributions of our veterans and to take action to honor them,” said Christina Cone, a district social studies chairperson. “It is also a meaningful way for the entire community to be able to take part and show pride in our service men and women.”
A veteran, Chris Levi, attended the installation, and took some time to speak to attendees.
“I thought his stories were very interesting, especially how he called himself the terminator,” eighth grader Nicolo Maltese said. “I was happy to put up the flags for the community.”
“I wanted to involve my students so that they could appreciate the sacrifices that our veterans have made,” MAMS teacher and event organizer Denise Schleith added, “to give us the opportunities and freedoms we have today.”