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Schools plan observances
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Forsyth County News


The North Forsyth High School Marine Corps JROTC is in high demand this time of year.

Maj. Mac Kelly said the group will present the colors at several county school ceremonies in honor of Veterans Day this week, in addition to holding its own Wednesday.

The 235th birthday of the Marine Corps and Veterans Day will be "wrapped into one" ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the high school's football stadium, Kelly said.

The event is open to the public.

The program's 200 cadets will march and Fulton County Army ROTC officers will be the guests of honor. Other traditions will take place too, he said, like the oldest Marine and youngest cadet taking the first pieces of cake.

North Forsyth has the county's lone ROTC program, so several elementary schools requested the uniformed students present the colors at their ceremonies.

Kelly said the group's appearance helps instill a sense of appreciation and understanding of sacrifice in the younger children.

That role model status can also renew the importance of serving America for the ROTC students, he said.

"When they go to an elementary school, they actually see little kids start looking up to them," he said.

The color guard will participate in a morning assembly at neighboring Coal Mountain Elementary School, where art teacher Toni Sullivan said the children will recognize veterans who are family members or friends.

Children will also be able to purchase poppies to wear during the ceremony, which will raise money for the local VFW post.

Students have completed art projects of the American flag, learning about patriotism, what the colors mean and the history of the country in preparation of the event, Sullivan said.

At Big Creek Elementary School, the students will use a different art form to express appreciation for the veterans.

Fifth-graders will put on a morning concert of patriotic songs in the school's outdoor garden as photos of the student's family members and friends who are veterans are displayed in a slideshow.

Music teacher Jill Hackney has been preparing the students for the big event, which she said has grown in meaning and importance as the day gets closer.

"At first the songs were just fun," she said. "As we talked about the history and what the words mean and the sacrifice that soldiers have given to this country ... every week, [the students] seem to take it more seriously and give me more effort."

Other county schools also have ceremonies planned. Among them: Haw Creek, Johns Creek, Matt, Settles Bridge and Silver City elementary schools; and Piney Grove Middle School.