During gymnasium-filled assemblies, Westfield intermediate schools payed tribute this week to US veterans.      

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Edison Intermediate School (EIS) opened its assembly with the presentation of colors by the Color Guard Marine Unit from Fort Dix, NJ. Speeches and readings by the school’s principal and students were punctuated by musical offerings from the school’s concert band and eighth grade chorus.

Against a backdrop of student-created banners filled with words of thanks to the men and women in the military, guest speakers reminded students to be grateful for the freedoms and way of life which can often be taken for granted. 

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Westfield resident Nick Ricigliano, with a long military career — including his service in the US Army in the first Gulf War involving Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait – gave examples of real-life heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect those freedoms.

EIS Social Studies teacher Robert Maver served in the Army in Bosnia as a peacekeeper – an image and role he said he wished more people understood. During his service in Bosnia, when he eliminated mine fields near public areas such as schools, was when he was first inspired to become a teacher.

Fellow Social Studies teacher John Stasi who emceed the program, thanked the students for participating in the school’s theme of service, in which extra lunches are brought in for the needy every Wednesday and for the Treats for Troops campaign held this month.

Stasi led the school in a round of applause for EIS Principal Matt Bolton, who received his Doctorate in Education the previous day. In turn, Dr. Bolton thanked the teachers and students for coming together as a community in performing acts of citizenship. He also mentioned his particular appreciation of vocal teacher Kristine Smith-Morasso for spearheading the annual Veterans Day event. Dr. Bolton praised the two guest speakers who he noted, “voluntarily served our country.” 

On Monday, Nov. 9, a similar assembly was held at Roosevelt Intermediate School, complete with Color Guard, music, and speeches by students and Principal Stewart Carey. Social Studies teacher Brian Vieth presented the school’s “Heroes Among Us Award” to Lieutenant Edward Brown of the US Navy.