Students display signs in support of veterans

Jackson Middle School seventh-graders, from left, Katelyn Collins, Jenna Carpenter, Lakyn Campbell and Mary Bixman hold their homemade signs in support of veterans along Grand Central Avenue on Saturday. (Photo Provided)

VIENNA — On Saturday, Nov. 11, students from Edison Middle and Jackson Middle schools’ FOR and Builders Clubs donated two hours of their time to honor United States veterans along Grand Central Avenue in Vienna.

The club members had been making handmade signs for weeks in preparation for the event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of ALDI and Lowe’s.

FOR stands for Friends of Rachel. The club was formed in honor of Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first victim of the Columbine School shootings in Colorado.

Club advisers Chasity Rice (7th Grade English/Language Arts teacher) and Gretchen Engnes (8th Grade English/Language Arts teacher) of Edison Middle School and Cherish George (7th Grade Science), Kristen Allodi (choir director) and Elizabeth Larsen (counselor) of Jackson Middle School thought it would be a great opportunity to not only honor the veterans but to set a good example of unity.

It was wonderful to sit back and watch the students from one school shake hands and converse with students from another, George said.

From left Edison Middle School eighth-graders Riley Hanna and Jasmine Judy hold their signs along Grand Central Avenue on Saturday. (Photo Provided)

“Given Edison and Jackson are rivals when it comes to athletics, it was great seeing them come together for something much bigger,” George said.

The club members from both schools knew this event was not mandatory and that the only thing they would gain was the positive reactions of passers-by, George said.

In addition to the “honks,” waves and thumbs ups, several veterans, men and women, stopped to shake hands and snap pictures with the students, all with gratitude on their faces, George said.

One veteran told the students that he had been all over town attending the Veterans Day activities but that nothing compared to seeing small children holding signs in support on their day off from school.

The two schools are planning future activities in which they can work together again.