O’NEALS – Veterans Day is Monday, Nov. 11 and most schools are closed in honor of the holiday. The next day, on Tuesday, Nov. 12, all veterans are invited to Minarets High School as students host their third annual Veterans Celebration and dinner at 6 p.m. in the gym. Dinner will be preceeded by recorded interviews with veterans throughout the day, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The purpose of the evening is to honor veterans of war, connect them with students, and document the stories of local heroes, according to Charter Director Daniel Ching, who helped start the program in his classroom three years ago.
“Each year, veterans come to this event where they can receive a free meal, enjoy various presentations by students and fellow veterans, and have a chance to tell their story,” says Ching.
“Veterans from World War II to present day are interviewed by students using hi-tech recording tools and facilities,” Ching continues. “The footage captured during these celebrations has been featured online, and gone on to win awards with students, including senior Haley Honeycutt, producing and directing. The project has been presented all over the state and in Austin, Texas, last summer.”
This year, Ching is collaborating with new Social Science Teacher Jahmaal Sawyer on the veterans project. “The Interviews will take place from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you are able to interview early in the day and you live close, we appreciate you scheduling appropriately. Interviews are not required to attend the celebration, but strongly encouraged,” explains Ching.
Dinner will take place following the interviews.
“This has turned into an amazing event where we have established relationships between generations,” says Ching. “The event is planned and carried out completely by students with the guidance of their teachers. The students and staff at Minarets are honored each year to connect with the veterans.”
Ching reports that Minarets is set to begin planning for a veterans’ memorial near the future home of the school’s football stadium. “We are looking for community members to contribute in this process. We are interested in building a granite monument that will show our appreciation of the service veterans have given to our country.”
All veterans are invited to attend and each may bring one free guest to dinner. Additional guests are asked to make a donation. RSVPs are requested by November 6th.
Anyone interested in attending or gathering more information can email Daniel Ching at Minarets.
To see an example of the films being made by students click here.