Nearly 200 Maple Point Middle School students made signs and waved flags to welcome veterans in a drive-thru parade.
Since 2001, the school has hosted events each year to honor those who served. But due to the pandemic, the usual grandiose school assembly was simply not feasible.
Instead of bringing in 100 veterans to meet students, the students went outside to greet the veterans.
They lined the winding driveway up to and down from the middle school. Each group of students yelled out, “Thank you!” to passing vehicles.
Fortunately, the day was sunny and warm. But Social Studies teacher Anne Schmidt said they were prepared to “tough it out” rain or shine.
The idea for a drive-thru parade came from “good committee” work, according to Schmidt. She is a leading member of the school’s Veterans Day Ceremony Committee which has the one job of preparing these annual events.
Schmidt took a great interest in the sacrifice veterans make thanks to her family. Her three uncles served in World War II; two of them went to Omaha Beach where one did not come back. Plus, her father is an army veteran as well.
And though this year’s drive-thru was a little unorthodox, it’s clear the message was the same as always.
“Our message is, ‘We get it and we thank you,'” said Schmidt. And she is not alone. Plenty of students have family members who served as well.
Principal Andy Sokol credited Maple Point Middle School’s teachers with instilling the importance of the ultimate sacrifice in the student body.
“With the pandemic we weren’t sure how they were going to pull this off, but as you can see they did a fantastic job to honor our veterans,” said Sokol.
The event originally started after the September 11th terrorist attacks to honor first responders like police officers along with those who had served the country.
“I think it’s an amazing program they put on every year,” said Middletown Township Officer Melissa Robison. “It’s a shame they couldn’t do their full show they normally put on but they were able to adapt and overcome, which is the military way.”
Neshaminy Community Relations Coordinator Chris Stanley created a nearly hour long video filled with photos of students’ family members in the armed forces.
The video also includes several guest speakers. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, State Rep. Frank Farry, former U.S. Rep Pat Murphy, and Middletown Township Supervisor Tom Tosti all gave their message on Veterans Day.