“Freedom Week” at I.J. celebrates our freedom

Published 7:15 am Tuesday, November 6, 2018

By Michael Veldman

Sixth Grade Social Studies Teacher, I.J. Holton Intermediate School

All I.J. Holton students will participate in “Freedom Week” Nov. 5-9.  This program celebrates its 16th year anniversary after being created shortly following the events of 9/11.

Michael Veldman

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This educational opportunity brings community leaders, guest speakers and military personnel to I.J. Holton, allowing students to hear firsthand accounts and powerful messages centered on the freedoms, rights, and privileges afforded to every American. Students also discover how veterans have made sacrifices and dedicated their time and lives to protect and keep those freedoms. The summative outcome for this week is to have students understand their responsibility when it comes to these freedoms as they live and grow within their school, their community and their nation.

The opening ceremony begins outside, where over 850 students, staff members, and community leaders, along with VFW Post 1216, American Legion Post 91 and DAV Chapter 27, assemble for the raising of the American flag. Girl and Boy Scout members will unfurl the flag as the military salute and civilians place their hands over their hearts. The sound of “Call to Colors” will be heard and after, the unison voices of all will say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Inside the gymnasium, David Brown will take a few moments to honor the memory and service of Norm Hecimovich, who served as the program’s keynote speaker for 15 years. This year we welcome Rollie Hanson, who will deliver a presentation on flag etiquette and address the topic of POW and MIAs. Musical selections from band and choir students will round out the morning’s assembly.

Students stand at attention for the Color Guard as they walking into the gym during the kick-off Monday morning for the annual Freedom Week at I.J. Holton Intermediate School. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Over the next couple of days, various speakers from the Wounded Warriors Project, Tracy Bachman, Marine Thomas Herrera and Sheriff Terese Amazi will deliver powerful and personal messages about freedom and serving our country. Social Studies classes offer sixth graders an opportunity to enter our local VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest. They will also deliver in-depth studies centered on our nation’s freedoms.

On Monday, Nov. 12, several schools throughout the district, including I.J. Holton, will be hosting a Veterans Day Breakfast, which is free to all veterans. Following breakfast, veterans will proceed into the auditorium to be introduced and recognized for their service. Over 250 music students will perform patriotic selections, and lastly, Chris Lee, representing Hormel Military Veteran Engagement Team (HMVET), will announce their committee’s essay winners.

The week provides a wonderful opportunity for students, as well as staff, to refresh their dedication and commitment to being a citizen of this great nation we call the United States of America.

Faculty member Dave Brown gives a tribute to Norm Hecimovich during an assembly kicking off Freedom Week at I.J. Holton.

Veterans Day Activities

Following are the various Veterans Day activities throughout the district. We look forward to this opportunity to say thank you for your service.

Veterans should call the number listed to be included in the breakfast count that morning. All breakfasts will be held on Monday, Nov. 12:

Banfield Elementary – Breakfast at 7:15 a.m., 460-1200

Neveln Elementary – Breakfast at 7:30 a.m, followed by assembly at 8:35 a.m., 460-1600

Southgate Elementary – Breakfast at 7:30 a.m., 460-1300

I.J. Holton Intermediate School – Breakfast served 7–7:50 a.m., followed by program, 460-1525

Ellis Middle School – Breakfast served at 7:30 a.m., followed by program at 8 a.m., 460-1500

Ron Hanson helps I.J. Holton students Hunter Jensen, from left, Ngae Seh and Chloe Cannon raise the flag outside the school Monday morning.