HOBBTON — With the day approaching when America honors those who have fought to give and preserve reedom, Hobbton High School took time Wednesday to pay its own tribute to all veterans. As Hobbton principal Dr. Wesley Johnson stated in his welcoming remarks, “In a time when testing seems to be a main concern in education today, it is good to take time to remember how we got here.”
The Hobbton Veterans Day Celebration was a culmination of many people working together to provide an inspirational and patriotic program for all in attendance.
“Our Veterans Day Celebration was a great success,” noted Katie Vann, Hobbton Career Development and Special Populations coordinator. “Many times high school students do not take the time to reflect on the real meaning of Veterans Day. Our speakers were insightful on the meaning of serving as a soldier and urged our students to consider opportunities in the military for its life changing opportunities.
“Our HHS Show Choir and marching band provided an inspiring musical program. The show by the Seymour Johnson Honor Guard and the Army National Guard helicopter made the day perfect. Salemburg Baptist Church provided a beautiful flag display on our front lawn. Dr. Johnson made the comment that testing keeps our schools from doing programs such as today. I am proud to know that Hobbton High took the time to remind our students that the freedoms and rights we have today are built on the strength of the sacrifices and service of our strong military. Our whole school came together to make this program work. The comments from the many veterans in attendance were very positive. We hope our students remember the significance of Veteran’s Day with a greater appreciation in the future,” added Vann.
Charles Curtis, Vietnam Veteran and VFW Post Commander, said the program at Hobbton was excellent.
“What the students and staff of Hobbton High School did Wednesday morning was excellent. The speakers were very generous and knowledgeable in their comments. I am proud to live in a community that does not forget its veterans. It was truly and honor to be a part of the program that honored we veterans. It was a great day,” stated Curtis.
Madison Bryant served as emcee for the celebrations. She comes from a military family and has been privileged to live on several military bases around the world, she said. Student Rakeem Williams led the crowd in prayer and Taylor Bowden requested everyone to stand as she led them in “The Pledge of Allegiance.”
The national anthem and “God Bless the U.S.A.” were sung by the HHS Show Choir.
Former Hobbton students and graduate Kenny Bass, and Terry Newsome were introduced as guest speakers.
Bass, a 1967 graduate and a U.S. Army Veteran serving in Vietnam and former teacher, coach and administrator at Hobbton, shared how the military has impacted his life and the challenges it provided to him. The former administrator stressed to the students the importance of education and how the military allowed him to advance his career through allowing him to receive a good education.
Newsome graduated from Hobbton in 1987 and served in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm. He shared his experiences during wartime and how it changed his life. Newsome declared that the military provided him opportunities to reach out beyond the small community of Faison and to go out into new vistas around the world. The former Hobbton student expressed his gratitude to the other veterans that were present for what each one has done to ensure the freedoms we have here in America.
The program was highlighted by the Hobbton High School Marching Band as they performed their 2012 competitive program entitled “The Soldier.” The band’s program, under the direction of Geoffrey Tart, was a most fitting tribute to veterans as the audience was shown stages in the soldier’s life through the musical program on the field, which culminated with a massive American flag being unfurled. As the band’s program ended with Tart playing “Taps” as a solo on the trumpet and firing salute was provided by the Seymour Johnson Honor Guard.
Hobbton freshman Carly Dunn, shared her thoughts following the program.
“The speakers were really good. They told everyone of the opportunities available through the military and that by being in the military a person’s life can be changed forever. I felt that the students were made aware of the privilege we have to be Americans and that we should always respect our veterans not only on Veteran’s Day but every day,” asserted Dunn.
Vann also shared that so many people took part in the planning of the program, but one student used assisting the committee in developing the planning and carrying out the event for his senior project.
“Garret Aman did his senior project on terrorism. For his senior project product, he assisted with the planning and coordination of today’s activities. Garrett helped with the flag display, assigned student’s work responsibilities, set up for the guests and students, made calls, and met with the military representatives in coordinating activities. He came in at 7:15 a.m. to make sure the field was ready,” explained Vann.
Aman expressed his thoughts regarding the program’s success following the morning’s activities.
“I feel today’s program was a tremendous success and I am glad I was a part of the program. It was a great experience for my fellow students to listen to the guest speakers’ life and sometimes bizarre journeys while in service. This program gave our students a better understanding of the true meaning of Veterans Day. Senior projects are a lot of work and I am glad to have been part of a program that my classmates enjoyed and learned from. Being a part of today’s program was truly rewarding,” remarked Aman.
A number of elected officials and other guests were present for the celebration that included members of the Sampson County Board of Education, Dwain Sinclair and Faye Gay, Superintendent Ethan Lenker, Rep. Larry Bell and Sen. Brent Jackson, along with a number of veterans.
Students and staff expressed that even the cold weather did not affect the beauty and reverence shown to veterans through the school’s celebration.