Students from the Madeline English School joined with hundreds of members of the Everett community to honor America’s servicemen and women at the “Our American Heroes” Memorial Day Show held at the Frederick F. Foresteire Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday evening, May 22nd.
Music teachers Maciej and Jorunn Kaczmarek co-produced the show and spent many hours rehearsing with students. “We are not just celebrating another holiday,” said Mr. Kaczmarek. “Rather, we are bringing the community together for a somber time of reflection.”
The tradition, initiated by Superintendent of Schools, Frederick F. Foresteire, is an annual event which brings together parents, friends, students, school department staff, elected officials, and veterans, to honor the sacrifices made by military veterans as well as members of the police and fire departments. The program combined speeches, video remembrances and song performances by elementary school students as well as the Everett High School Marching Band, to honor the sacrifices of veterans.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Charles F. Obremski, introduced the various Veterans organizations in attendance. Representatives from posts of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Everett Vietnam Veterans Association, Italian American Veterans, American Veterans, Everett Allied Veterans Council, Jewish War Veterans of Everett, Lt. Carl Stein, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lt. Joseph Wehner and Gold Star Mothers.
Dr. Thomas J. Stella, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, recognized School Committee members, Mr. Allen Panarese, Chairman; and Mr. Richard Baniewicz and Mr. David Ela, as well as Mr. Joseph Hickey, Commissioner of Veteran Service. Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. then congratulated all the veterans for their dedication to our country. “Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.” DeMaria said. Representative Wayne Matewsky spoke of Memorial Day as a solemn day of remembrance of our “fallen heroes.”
“This program is a small way for us as a community and a school system to recognize your sons and daughters for the commitment and sacrifice they made for us so we can enjoy our freedom,” Foresteire said. He also honored all the servicemen and women currently serving in the interest of protecting our American freedom and liberties.
From there, the English School students took over the show! Kindergarten student David Iwangou led the “Pledge of Alliance” followed by “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by the Select Madeline English Vocal Ensemble. Soloists Andrew Bernard, Grade Eight and Davianna Cora, Grade Seven, sang, “We will Stand,” and a video was presented intermittently showing students interviewing veterans as well as fellow students about their memories and feelings regarding Veterans Day.
Students performed such patriotic songs as “This Land is Your Land,” “Grand Old Flag,” “God Bless America,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Armed Forces Medley,”
”Amazing Grace,” and “Hero.”
The show concluded with the entire cast of the Madeline English School singing, “American Tears,” “God Bless the USA,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Joseph Hickey, who served in the Vietnam War, was one of the veterans interviewed about his thoughts on Memorial Day.
“In Vietnam, there was no Memorial Day,” said Hickey, describing life during his tour of duty to the students. “We got turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas. There were no Saturdays or Sundays.”
Hickey continued, “A lot of great men and women who made this country what it is came from Everett. I’m so proud to be associated with them!”