St. Jerome School in Westchester welcomed 22 current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces in honor of Veterans Day, Thursday, November 8th.

Each of the military’s five branches was represented and spent part of the morning visiting the students of the school. Each classroom spent approximately 40 minutes with two to three servicemen or -women, discussing their responsibilities and why they chose to serve the country.

Students presented poems, completed art projects, discussed a U.S. military timeline, and “listened intently to the unique stories, memories, travels and reflections of their special guests,” said Rick Billups, St. Jerome vice principal.

Following the classroom visit, a special assembly with the entire school was held in honor of the men and women of the Armed Forces.

After a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” seventh-grader Geenah-Marie Leslie gave a speech emphasizing how the soldiers and veterans are the true heroes that children should be idolizing, Billups said.

Technical Sgt. Richard Rositas of the Air Force gave a presentation to the student body, discussing the various responsibil- ities of each branch of the military, the importance of defending freedom and the concepts of bravery and service to others.

After the assembly, the teachers and staff of St. Jerome School hosted a luncheon with all 22 members of the Armed Forces who spent time with the students.

Organizer and social studies chairman Mauricio Ortega described the day as a huge success.

“To see so many children eagerly welcoming our guests during recess, applauding each member as they were introduced during the assembly, and to witness the respect and honor given throughout the morning was fantastic,” Ortega said. “All week the students have been excited for today, and to listen to Geenah’s speech and hear the students talking about the visit and what they learnedÖ I’m proud to say that our students recognize the sacrifices that these brave men and women have made for our country.

“I look forward to continuing the friendships we have begun today and including our current and former soldiers in future activities.”

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