For students at Wingate Elementary School, Memorial Day is not just about remembering those who served our country, but also a time to thank law enforcement and public safety officials who serve the community.
On Tuesday, about 425 students participated in a Freedom Walk to honor all heroes.
It was an effort spearheaded by Melissa Anderson’s second-grade class.
“It was sparked a couple months ago after we read a nonfiction book, ‘Freedom Walk,’ and they wanted to do something similar that included the whole school and recognize the heroes who serve us every day,” Anderson said.
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The story was about a boy from Ohio who wanted to honor first responders affected by the 9/11 events, by creating a “Freedom Walk.”
Anderson’s class wrote a letter to Principal Jim Orichosky asking for permission to organize the event, and then wrote a letter to the Parent Teacher Association asking for funds to purchase flags for every student at the school.
The walk began Tuesday morning with Anderson’s class at the flagpole in front of the school. Each class at Wingate Elementary signed up for a 20-minute slot to join in the walk, which ran through the day.
Second-grader Grace Seth, 8, presented information about the walk, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance lead by classmate Talon Thompson.
“We just want to be supportive and honor those people who do a lot for us,” said Talon, whose great-grandfather served in the Navy.
A wreath was also placed at the flagpole by second-grader Emily Silvis as a tangible way to honor heroes.
The students then paraded around the school, toward the playground and back to the front.
“It speaks volumes of the kind of students they are,” Orichosky said. “That’s the stuff we don’t measure with testing.”
State police and Bellefonte EMS were also present at the ceremony.