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HKMS Honors Those Who Serve

Submitted by Jennifer Olsen, Principal HKMS.


KILLINGWORTH, CT  Today, April 6, 2018, Haddam-Killingworth Middle School welcomed Dan McSparran, President of the AT&T Veterans of Connecticut/New England, State Representative Robert Siegrist, Thomas Saadi, Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and members of the VFW post 10690 of Higganum-Haddam and Auxiliary. Our honored guests recognized the efforts of HKMS students to learn about and connect with our local veterans. Today’s program, Honoring Those Who Serve, was led and organized by HKMS eighth grade history teachers, Kate O’Mara and Greg Cumpstone.

Devon Coon and Brooke Catalano

Ten eighth grade students were recognized for their Patriot’s Pen essays by Beth Hartke and Harold Edman, members of the VFW Post 10690 Higganum-Haddam and Auxiliary. Nikki Ackerman, Jacqueline Flaherty, Megan Haase, Caitlin Lamy, Kyla Mazzotta, Isabella Virgulto, and Benjamin Williams were recognized for their essays on the topic, “America’s Gift to my Generation.” Libby Riggs and Charlotte Selmer were both local finalists, and Yumiko Imai, first place winner for HKMS, finished in third place in the Connecticut competition. The following members of the VFW post joined HKMS students for this ceremony: Harold Edman, Commander, Jim Woodworth, Quartermaster, Claudette Sirois, President of the Auxiliary, Paula Woodworth, Patriotic Instructor, and Beth Hartke, Chaplain.

Participants and volunteers in the AT&T Veterans Road Race

HKMS partnered with Dan McSparran and the AT&T Veterans of Connecticut/New England to bring local and state veterans to meet with HKMS students. In September of 2017, the following veterans came to HKMS to meet with our eighth grade students and share their stories of service: Amy Sizer, Jim Woodworth, Joan Howell, Nick DeLucia, David Edgington, and Dan McSparran. The following HKMS and HKHS students were recognized at today’s ceremony for their participation in the AT&T Veterans Road Race Event in November 2017. Devin Coon sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” and Andrew Fleig played “Taps” on the trumpet. Kristen Daley, Owen Daley, and Addy Hawkins assisted at the race. HKMS runners included: Lucas Kamoen (first place finisher), Joseph Giaccone, Blake Kamoen, Colton Merola, Greyson Merola, Charlotte Selmer, and Benjamin Williams. HKHS student Brooke Catalano made cards to give to veterans at the Connecticut Veterans Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill, the location of the race. State Representative Robert Siegrist presented each student with an Official Citation from the Connecticut General Assembly and Thomas Saadi, Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, honored each student with a challenge coin in recognition of his/her efforts. HKMS teachers Kate O’Mara and Greg Cumpstone were also honored with an Official Citation from the Connecticut General Assembly.

In the final portion of the ceremony, thirteen HKMS eighth grade students were recognized for their efforts to teach seventh grade students about issues connected to veterans. Emily Alaimo and Ava Tassmer – Honoring Veterans; Sydney Cheverier, Sydney Thomas, Megan Haase, and Shelby Welsch – Military Drills and Academies; Samantha Height – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial; Leah McGrath and Alyssa Bredefeld – PTSD; Ryan Thompson and AJ Grasso – Veterans in Music and Movies; and Erik Winikur and Ava DiMatteo – Medicine in American Wars.