Veterans committee looks to expand on years of success

SOUTHINGTON — When the school district formed a partnership with a local veterans committee two years ago, it started as a way to increase education on Veterans Day and Flag Day. After the partnership’s continued success during the 2012-13 school year, members on the veterans committee said they were pleased with the program and hoped this year was be as rewarding as the last.

What manifested from raising awareness about Veterans Day was a bond between local veterans, teachers and school administrators. Since the partnership was formed, district school staff and local veterans have met as a committee to arrange school visits and other activities.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Erardi said this started as a way to, “reach a consensus of how to appreciate Veterans Day appropriately.”

“One of the things we’re proud of is this partnership,” Army veteran Steve Pintarich said, during a Veterans’ Partnership meeting on Wednesday evening.

Beginning the middle of October until Veterans Day, Pintarich said, “We want to do a seminar on what we as veterans can do more of in the classrooms, show the vets what we need to do.”

He said the object of this seminar would be for school officials and the community to talk to the veterans visiting the classrooms about what they should include during classroom discussions. Veterans visit the schools within the district, where Pintarich said they are able to teach history to the students from a perspective of someone who has experienced it firsthand. He said they will usually spend 45 minutes talking in a classroom. In the past, topics have included Veterans Day and Flag Day.

“Whenever we can come in, we’ll be there,” Pintarich said.

Another goal Pintarich has for the 2013-14 school year is for visits to extend to all schools in the district on Veterans Day and Flag Day. Previously, veterans only made visits to half of the district, but with enough volunteers, it’s something they’ll change this year, he said.

Veteran Len Marcheselle said that veterans shouldn’t be limited to talking in classrooms only during events for Veterans Day and Flag Day.

“There are other days during the year that are important to Veterans,” Marcheselle said, such as D-Day or the Battle of the Bulge of World War II.

“Now I’m looking to the school system,” he said, “and wondering if the schools would want to expand on that.”

This Veterans Day in November falls on a Monday and the schools are not in session. The committee decided Wednesday evening that the remembrance will be held on Thursday and Friday prior to the holiday.

As a way for students to stay interested in history and understand current events, Patrica Queen, a board of education member involved with the the veterans partnership, said she’d be interested in seeing a discussion take place with high-schools students and area veterans on current topics, like the crisis in Syria.

Further discussion on the topic was put off until school board members could talk to high school principal Dr. Martian Semmel about hosting discussions on current event topics.

smul@record-journal.com 203-317-2275 Twitter: @ssavanimal



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