Veterans Day 2020

Veterans Day Parade hosted in lieu of assembly
Posted on 11/17/2020
A group of student leaders portray the Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima as veterans pass by.

The Poplar Bluff Middle School may have reinvented the way its student body observes Veterans Day, having hosted a parade in place of its longstanding assembly for the first time.

Veterans looped their vehicles around the parent pickup line while students spread out across campus cheering them on last week.

"All of a sudden there was no election, no politics – just good things,” commented Middle School Principal Dr. Josh Teeter immediately following the parade on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Teeter was originally contemplating holding the event virtually, when his team met for a planning session. First-year guidance counselor Britney Stahl was credited for coming up with the parade idea in order to avoid assembling indoors, a Veterans Day tradition of the school since 1997, beginning at the former 5th & 6th Grade Center.

Stahl, along with her colleagues Lauren Hasanov and Michelle Shepard, mapped out the route, dividing students in groups along the walking track in front of the building. Veterans started at the Highland Drive Church of Christ and drove the loop road toward Harper Street, finishing up on Victory Lane.

With involvement from other schools throughout the district, the parade was led by the High School JROTC, Sho-Me Marching Band and the Junior High Pom Squad. The John J. Pershing VA Medical Center helped transport veterans. The Three Rivers Shrine Club, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, and Poplar Bluff Fire and Police departments joined in. A representative from Hefner Furniture helped solicit participation from classic car enthusiasts.

Middle School students held up banners made in art class, and waved miniature flags distributed by teachers. The Junior Beta Club and Student Council portrayed scenes from the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the iconic Flag Raising on Iwo Jima photograph. The Safety Patrol marched with a sign that spelled out, ‘Heroes.’ SINGS students used plastic cups to create a message in the fence that read, ‘We love America. PBMS thanks you.’ The Honor Choir performed patriotic songs as the parade rounded the parking lot between Kay Porter Theater and E.T. Peters Gym.

Stahl found it moving when she noticed some students were attempting to salute the veterans impromptu, she said. “How do you teach gratitude? You really have to model it,” Shepard noted.

The immediate response from staff members, some of whom were feeling emotional, was that the modified format might actually be an improvement going forward. Teeter reflected on the importance of carrying on the tradition, despite some added problem-solving in the wake of the pandemic. "There's a classroom out there. There are lessons to be learned," he said, pointing out of his office window.

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Cutline: A group of student leaders portray the Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima as veterans pass by.

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