The 16th annual salute to servicemen, servicewomen and veterans at Kelley School in Newark kicked off with honorees eating breakfast with students at patriotically decorated tables.
The following assembly featured a performance of the national anthem by the third-grade chorus, directed by general music teacher Libby Brozik.
“This is a very special day for our school, and I am so proud of our students, staff and retired staff that came back to help honor our veterans,’’ Principal Jeff Hamelinck said.
Hamelinck recalled an incident last year when two Marines visited a classroom. One of the men was his former student from more than 15 years ago who exhibited unruly behavior.
“With the help of caring teachers, coaches and parents, this young man turned around and now he’s serving his country and helping to keep us safe,” Hamelinck said. “There he stood in his uniform, and I couldn’t have been more proud to see the man he has become.”
Hamelinck asked everyone to observe a moment of silence to honor those who died in combat and are missing in action. Three fifth grade trumpet players — Brianna Bulman, Anthony DeYulio and Khy Salone — played taps.
Dennis Tellier, president of the Newark Veterans Council, presented a plaque to Hamelinck on behalf of the August Mauer American Legion Post 286 and Arcadia Memorial Post 2883 in appreaciation of the annual salute.
The chorus then performed “For the Good of Many.” Each branch of the military was recognized as their theme songs played, and students held banners with the branches’ insignias.
A reception followed for the honorees.