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Tea Area High School honors Veterans in Veterans Day Program

Tea Area High School hosted a Veterans Day program on Friday, Nov. 10, paying tribute to the brave men and women who have served in the United States military. The event, held at the school’s gymnasium, featured speeches, recognitions, musical performances, and an essay competition.

The program began with an introduction by Cooper Ritter and Sydney Ganschow, expressing gratitude to attendees for joining the commemoration. TAHS English teacher Ms. Sarah Springman, the daughter of an Army Colonel, opened the event by sharing her family’s military background and acknowledging her parents’ service.

Jeffrey Springman, Ms. Springman’s father, served as a Colonel in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired in 2014 with the Distinguished Service Medal and bronze star. Susan Springman, Ms. Springman’s mother, held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

“In the United States of America, Veterans Day annually falls on November 11. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. The armistice ending World War I went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918.  The day was commemorated as Armistice Day until 1954, when after World War II and the Korean War, Congress passed a law officially renaming the day as Veterans Day to honor all American Veterans. Veterans are thanked and honored for their services to the United States on Veterans Day,” said Springman. “We ask that you give the utmost respect to today’s speakers, performers, and presenters  as we honor those who served to protect our freedoms.  Thank you for attending the Tea Area School District Veteran’s Day Program.”

The National Anthem was played by the Tea Area High School band, followed by a recognition of veterans in attendance. Ritter and Ganschow called out the names of Tea American Legion Post 266 members, as well as other veterans and military members present in the gym, receiving a round of applause in appreciation.

Ganschow provided background information on Veterans Day, emphasizing the more than one million American service members who have sacrificed their lives for the country. She expressed gratitude to the over 19 million living veterans and encouraged everyone to say, “Thank you for serving.”

 Ritter then introduced the VFW-sponsored essay competition winners. Rick Williamson announced the Voices of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen place winners, with Kya Haynes sharing her winning Voices of Democracy essay “What Are the Greatest Attributes of Our Democracy?” and Kaylee Taylor reading her winning Patriot’s Pen essay, “How Are you Inspired by America?”  

Taking second place in the Voices of Democracy was Kendra Oberle. Third place went to Olivia Hubley and fourth place to Brandon Wipf. Taking second in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest was Kinsley Gass and third was Jesse Godber. 

The Tea Area High School band, under the direction of Mrs. Wranek, performed “Armed Forces on Parade,” a medley of service songs. Veterans and current military members were asked to stand during the performance, and students with immediate family members in the military were invited to stand as well.

The program concluded with a poignant moment of silence during the playing of Taps, honoring both living and fallen veterans. The Tea American Legion retired the colors as the audience remained standing.

In his closing remarks, Ritter thanked everyone for attending. 

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