Frisco ISD honors the bravery and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.
Activities on many campuses are teaching students about citizenship, love for country and respect for those who serve or who have served the United States in uniform. Students are urged to learn about veterans in their own families, share patriotic music and display letters and posters thanking veterans for their service.
At Smith Elementary, hand-drawn pictures depict different branches of the military. Poems and essays expressing gratitude are taped to the walls.
Students had the opportunity to share their sentiments recently during Veterans Day assemblies.
All parents, grandparents and other relatives who are veterans were invited to the school to be recognized. Frisco City Councilman and Smith parent Tim Nelson, a captain in the U.S. Army, attended the evening program with his kids after his safe return from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
“I appreciate that you leave your family and friends to serve your country,” third grader Swaroop Prakash told the crowd.
Fourth grader Olivia Hankins added: “If I made a list of sacrifices you made, it would stretch around the world – twice.”
Lance Corporal Matthew Darwin, a 2011 graduate of Centennial High School and Smith alumnus, spoke to students about his service in the Marine Corps Reserve. Two of his brothers currently attend Smith.
“I knew all my life I wanted to join the military,” he said. “It was a calling. Nine years ago I was sitting where you are.”
Darwin told students to remember why we celebrate Veterans Day.
“Don’t just make it one day. Make it every day all year,” he said. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world when someone comes up to you and thanks you for serving. It’s a reminder of why we joined. It’s encouragement to keep going.”
The event was also an opportunity for Major Scott Barnett to say thank you. The firefighter and paramedic served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan with the Army Reserves while his children were students at Smith Elementary.
“No tour is easy,” Barnett said. “The military is about service, but I tell you each and every person in this room – the principal, the teachers – they took care of my family.”
Barnett presented the school with a U.S. flag that flew on a base in Afghanistan on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
“It was important for me for them to know just much I appreciate their investment in my children and how much they care,” he said.
Principal Matt Kimball told the crowd about efforts to teach students about pride and patriotism.
“We know that our freedom and the privilege to vote is because of your sacrifice,” he said. “Today veterans, I hope you sense their respect and honor.”