Mississinawa Valley students honor Veterans at 11th Annual Veterans Day program

I just love the fact that our students are so involved ... Amy Roessner

Mississinawa Valley donates to Darke County Veterans Services (L-R) DCVS Director/CVSO Thomas Pitman, Amy Roessner (MV 3nd grade teacher) and Sheila Scholl (MV 2rd grade teacher) (Gaylen Blosser photo)

UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley Local Schools recently held its 11th annual Veterans Day program including a breakfast served to 41 veterans and 76 students followed by a program.

The event is sponsored by Mississsinawa Valley along with a generous donation of eggs by Cal Main. The cafeteria staff prepares sausage, Mrs. Rismiller’s class bakes muffins, and MV FFA cooks the eggs, with many other students pitching in to help with clean up, serving food, reading during the program, and serving as door greeters.

New to the program this year, the photography club took photos with students and their Veterans. Kindergarten students handed out small gifts during the program while grades one through six sang a tribute song. K-12 students lined the hallway with decorations of gratitude and thanks.

Throughout the 11 years, the MV students and staff have raised $7,157.24 for various veterans services including Journey Home, Honor Flight, Dayton VA Hospital, Wounded Warrior, and the Darke County Veterans Services Commission, and have sent 12 boxes full of care package items to deployed servicemen and women.

Mississinawa Valley donates $1,029.49 at the 11th Annual Veterans Day program. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

For the past three years, the school’s focus has been on donating its fundraising money toward the Darke County Veterans Services Commission.

It was the inspiration of MV third-grade teacher, Amy Roessner to hold the annual Veterans Day event and Sheila Scholl, MV second-grade teacher soon joined Roessner.

“I have a lot of veterans in my family, my father is a veteran, I have uncles, I have an uncle who was killed in the Korean War so it is very important to my family,” Roessner stated. “In 2014 we didn’t do anything as a school for Veterans Day and it was just up to the individual teacher to recognize Veterans Day in their classroom.”

“I thought we could do something so I made this big turkey and had the kids sign it,’ she continued. “I took it up to the Union City VFW and it was just saying thank you. They sent the nicest card and photo of it hanging up in there and I thought that’s sad, they were very thankful for just a turkey and we can do better.”

Roessner put her goal in motion, a goal to give the Mississinawa Valley students a platform to show gratitude and thankfulness, “because these days we don’t have that enough for our students,” Roessner said.

The first year, 2015 the program was for K-6 and was student-led. “I was blown away,” said Roessner.

With Scholl’s encouragement, the program soon became K-12 and one hundred percent student-led.

“I am very happy that Amy started this,” said Scholl. “It takes a team of us. It is getting to the point where it is a fine-oiled machine.”

The largest number of veterans attending came in 2017 with 91 veterans in attendance as the number of American Veterans continues to decline each year.

The Mississinawa Valley FFA cooks the breakfast and students invite a veteran to have breakfast with them.

“They all sit down and have breakfast together and then they go to the gym and we have a presentation of the Flag, the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, and then the program,” Roessner stated. “We try to make it as special as we can – it’s what they deserve.”

“We are showing them to be grateful for these people walking through our doors, that you are to be respectful of these people, thank you for coming, thank you for your service,” said Scholl. “It makes every single veteran smile that walks through.”

“I just love the fact that our students are so involved,” Roessner concluded. “They always make me proud.”