VINTON–Herman L. Horn Elementary School held its annual assembly saluting veterans on November 11. Teacher Michelle Lionberger and the rest of the staff at HLH Elementary organized a program of rousing patriotic songs, poems, and speeches to honor veterans and active duty personnel from the five branches of the service—the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, all of whom were represented.
Students went all out this year decorating the halls with patriotic themes and colors including a giant American flag with white stripes made from the handprints of the entire fourth grade and assembled by SCA members.
The students at HLH continued the tradition of the Wall of Heroes, in which students are invited to interview family members, friends, and neighbors and bring back stories of military service which are then posted in the school hallways. The staff expected 50 names and stories, but students responded with 150, including those of 20 military personnel currently on duty.
Lionberger said that many students insisted on returning the stories to her personally so they could tell her the stories they had collected, rather than just have their teachers hand them in.
The gym was packed with the entire student body and even more servicemen and women than usually attend, along with Mayor Brad Grose (a veteran), Town Manager Chris Lawrence, and Roanoke County Math Supervisor Terry Hartley, also a veteran.
A Color Guard from Scout Troop # 235 opened the ceremony. The Pledge of Allegiance was followed by the spontaneous addition of the Character Counts Pledge (to the surprise of their teachers) which HLH students are accustomed to reciting each morning along with the Pledge.
“I pledge to be a Kid for Character. I will be worthy of trust. I will be respectful and responsible, doing what I must. I will always act with fairness. I will show that I care. I will be a good citizen, and always do my share.”
Principal Peggy Stovall told the students that she was the daughter of a veteran of World War II who passed away this past year so this is her first Veterans Day without her father.
Lionberger’s father, Kenneth Tolbert, served in the Navy during Vietnam. Her grandfather, Herman Angell, served in the Navy during World War II and was part of the D-Day invasion.
Individual students recounted the history of each branch of service and then a chorus sang the theme song of each branch as veterans were invited to stand. A choir of teachers also performed a patriotic number.
Mayor Brad Grose told the students that while different branches of the service wear different uniforms and hats, “we all serve one nation.”
At the end of the ceremony, the students honored the veterans and active duty soldiers with a very unique gift—American flag key chains they had created on the 3D printer at the school.
The 3D printer is located in the classroom of teacher Betsey Miles but is available to all instructors for projects. Miles obtained the printer for the school through a grant program, making it the first elementary school in Roanoke County to have the technology.
Miles said that the first step in making the key chains was to select a flag template from the thingiverse.com website which has hundreds of thousands of designs available. Once the template is selected and downloaded on the computer, other settings are chosen related to scale, the filament to be used, orientation, and so on. Students have been trained to use the software once the template is downloaded.
The printer first uses the filament to build a base and then adds layers. Each flag key chain took approximately 37 minutes to create.
Miles said that students use the 3D technology in a variety of projects. The school custodian was able to use 3D technology to make copies of the last known key for paper towel dispensers around the building. The key was sent to the Roanoke County Burton Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) where students were able to make several duplicates for HLH using their more sophisticated 3D printer.