Ellis Middle School named ‘most patriotic’

Published 11:06 am Monday, February 22, 2010

Austin’s Ellis Middle School was stamped The Most Patriotic School in Minnesota Monday.

The school was honored with an official proclamation by State Sen. Dan Sparks and Mayor Tom Stiehm at an assembly this morning.

This is the first year the Veterans of the Foreign Wars (VFW) have given this award, explained Sue Register, junior vice commander of local VFW post and judge advocate of the first district.

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Ellis was selected as the most patriotic school by a panel who reviewed a number of statewide nominations.

“I nominated Ellis based on all of the wonderful stuff that they are doing,” Register said. “They have had many VFW teachers of the year and are doing many patriotic things all the time.”

Patriotic activities at Ellis have included “Faces of Freedom,” a showcase of military personnel; celebration of Freedom Week; collecting cards and candies to send to the troops during the holidays; sending letters to a local troop for Austin and Albert Lea during their deployment to Iraq; a patriotic pen essay contest, a required writing piece for sixth graders; Young Citizen of the Year program; Veteran’s Day breakfast; writing Valentine’s cards for veterans; and several more events in which letters and non-perishable items were sent to the troops.

The assembly today included a flag raising ceremony at the school with the American Legion and the VFW, the proclamation, the presentation of the award by past VFW State Commander Stan Kowalski (former professional wrestler), a speech about American Flag etiquette and the POW/MIA flag, military pins, ribbons and medals by past commander Norm Hecimovich and the introduction of Minnesota VFW Teacher of the Year Pat Anderson.

“I felt that we needed to recognize these patriotic teachers and these patriotic programs that we continue to see at Ellis,” Register said.