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Cardinal Pacelli School Sponsors Honor Flights

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By Alisa Fisher

Cardinal Pacelli staff and students have a special place in their hearts for America’s military families. Designated a Purple Star school in 2019, Cardinal Pacelli shows its support for current and former service men and women in myriad ways. The Purple Star designation from the Ohio Department of Education recognizes schools that are military-friendly.

Cardinal Pacelli hosts an annual Veterans Day celebration and girls’ basketball tournament, holds a “Purple Up” day to raise funds for the Gary Sinise Foundation, and posts information and resources on their school website to bring awareness to the men, women and families who make up our military. The sixth grade Girl Scouts made paracord bracelets to benefit Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to active duty service men and women.

At this year’s Veterans Day celebration, 27 veterans representing all branches of the military were honored. For teachers Ellen Habel and Jamie Schwendeman, who coordinate the program, it was important for every student to play a role. The lower grades sang “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” band members played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” emcees Lei Lei Pham and Maggie McDowell introduced each veteran, and junior high students read personal reflections. Kindergartener Brooks Bruemmer wowed the audience with his rendition of “God Bless America.”

Annah McDowell, mother of eighthgrader Maggie, was one of the honorees. McDowell graduated from West Point in 1994 and deployed to Bosnia twice. She said, “It was great to be part of something where kids could learn about and appreciate what veterans of multiple generations have done for our country.”

The November 11 celebration culminated in a special announcement: Through the school’s fundraising efforts, $4,211.89 was collected to send seven veterans on Honor Flights in the coming year. The money will be donated to the Honor Flight Network, which transports veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials.

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