Elk Lake says ‘thank you’ to vets

George Sobeck shook hands with veterans and said, "I appreciate what you've done," after the elementary school Veterans Day ceremony Monday. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

George Sobeck shook hands with veterans and said, “I appreciate what you’ve done,” after the elementary school Veterans Day ceremony Monday. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

BY PAT FARNELLI

In her first place Veterans Day essay, sixth grader Amelia Comly asked her schoolmates, “Have you ever shaken a veteran’s hand and said thank you?”

She continued to say that such a gesture can mean a great deal to a service member, who has doubtless sacrificed a great deal.

The American Legion Post in Elk Lake is having a harder time every year judging the Veterans Day essay contest entries. “They just keep getting better, it seems,” American Legion Post Commander David Jenner said.

Elementary principal Ken Cuomo said that the quality of the essays reflects on the education being provided by parents and teachers.

This year, the first place essay won $100, the second place $75, and the third place $50, according to Jenner.

The second place essay was written by Sadie Bossher, and the third place essay, by Brandon Way. The annual essay contest is organized by the sixth grade faculty and judged by members of the American Legion.

The featured speaker, 2012 Elk Lake graduate Devon Fiorentino, was unable to attend.

The eighth grade band, under the direction of Kathleen Amabile, played “God Bless the USA,” “America the Beautiful,” and the National Anthem.

The fifth and sixth grade chorus led the audience in singing “God Bless America,” You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and “This Land is Your Land.”

The junior/senior high school drama club wore their tie dyed red, white and blue t-shirts from last year’s production of “Kilroy Was Here,” and sang “Together We Must Stand” from that musical.

A short, moving video on what it was like to serve in foreign wars was shown, which concluded with veterans of several wars looking into the audience and saying, “I fought for you.”

Senior Christian Sprout played “Taps” at the conclusion of the ceremony.