This Veterans Day, students at schools across the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) gathered together to celebrate and honor those who have served our country.

The celebration at Paseo Hills School in Phoenix is of great significance, not only for the students, but for the community as well. On Friday, November 8, 2019, Paseo Hills put on their 15th Annual Veterans Day Celebration. This event has become a tradition in the community.

Kelsey Chancellor, who works with the National Junior Honor Society at Paseo Hills, says that students arrived early Friday morning to assist in any way they could. Some students escorted Veterans, while others helped decorate and organize the event.

“It was truly amazing to watch our more experienced NJHS members take on leadership roles and help guide new members, to hear them share memories of Veterans Day celebrations in years past, and even come up with new ideas for next year,” Kelsey said.

Melanie Lee, a student at Paseo Hills and a speaker at the event, says the yearly celebrations have made a big impact on her life.
“I get to hear amazing stories about acts of bravery, the beginnings of friendships, and the challenges that many of our veterans have overcome.” Melanie is also carrying on a tradition and a legacy. Her Grandmother was part of the original team that started the event.

“This will always will be a special event for me and my peers.” Melanie hopes that the event will have the same impact on younger students for years to come.

Teodora Gulic, a student at Paseo Hills and a five-year ceremony attendee, says there are many ways DVUSD and the community have used the Celebration as a way to give back.

“We represented the veterans in many ways. We gave them cards to show how thankful we are, we made poppies to show what bloomed first on graves, we sang songs, and the band played songs. We have impacted them as much as they have impacted us.”

Many of the veterans who have attended the celebration have shared their gratitude for the event. Assistant Principal Jennifer Arrieta shared that one veteran reached out to her after the ceremony saying, “Thank you so much for the invite. It was so much more than what I expected, and I was honored to be included. As I was leaving, I took some of the extra veteran thank you cards and shared them with other veterans that I work with throughout the day. They all loved them. It really made their day, and one Vietnam Veteran told me he had never received a Veterans Day card ever in his life and was moved to tears by the kindness of your students.”

In the past six years, the Paseo Hills Student Government Club has raised over four thousand dollars in donations for our Veterans. This year, the students have selected to send their donations to the Wounded Warrior Project which organization offers a variety of programs and services for wounded veterans of the military actions.