Citizenship: Honoring those who keep us free

Published 8:26 am Friday, December 8, 2017

Jean McDermott

Pacelli Schools president

Pacelli students recently had several opportunities to honor those who served our country. Elementary students are spreading Christmas cheer by making Christmas cards for veterans and high school students are writing about the gift that America is to them.

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The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary (DAVA) annually collects Christmas cards to share with veterans who may be alone or dealing with challenging situations during the holidays.  Pacelli elementary students presented a multitude of handmade cards to Judy Bramblett and Gloria Njos from DAVA to distribute to veterans throughout Minnesota.  Cards will go to VA hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Cloud as well as to Minnesota veterans homes and to local care centers.  “We really appreciate all the cards for veterans and members,” states Bramblett.  Cards are also placed into Operation Shoebox containers which ship toiletries, hygiene items, and candy, along with a Christmas greeting, to soldiers in active duty.

Pictured from left are Rachel Nelsen, first place Voice of Democracy winner; Scott Wiechmann, VFW Post commander; and Rory Bickler, third place winner. Photos provided

Pacelli high school students had the opportunity to participate in the annual VFW Voice of Democracy essay competition.  Tenth grade students Rachel Nelsen (1st Place) and Rory Bickler (3rd) place were presented their rewards by VFW Post Commander,  Scott Wiechmann.  The VFW’s Voice of Democracy essay competition is dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation of America, and to help foster patriotism among today’s youth. Students are required to submit an oral or written essay in response to a question or statement on a subject which prompts them to consider how American history and democratic ideals and principles apply to their lives. This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asked high school students to describe, “American History: Our Hope for the Future.” Voice of Democracy is an audio-essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. The national winner is presented the $30,000, T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship award. More than 46,000 high school students competed in last year’s competition.  Students from across the globe took home their share of more than $3.3 million in scholarships and awards from last year’s competitions.

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit the website at, email or call 507-437-3278.