By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsJune 11, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - North Harford Middle School students, staff and guests gathered to rededicate the school's Wall of Honor during a May 29 ceremony in the auditorium.
As part of a seventh grade service learning project, NHMS students and staff were invited to submit the names, ranks, service dates and branches of Family members who have served, or are currently serving. The Wall now honors 500 members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
During the ceremony, a representative from each branch of the military added a flag to the display and the Aberdeen Proving Ground color guard, under the direction of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Fred Posadas, posted the colors.
Students led the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance and carried or held state flags throughout the ceremony. Cameron Davis and Kaylee Davis, seventh grade students who spearheaded the project, also gave remarks.
Davis noted that during the course of the project they studied various functions of the military.
"Some people assume that the military is just about fighting wars, but they do so much more," she said. "They help others. For instance, they help rebuild communities after natural disasters."
School and elected officials included Harford County Public School Superintendent Robert Tomback; a Joe Hau, a member from the Harford County Board of Education; Maryland State Delegate H. Wayne Norman Jr.; Garrison APG Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz and Master Sgt. John Cavaliere, interim garrison command sergeant major.
Ortiz said he was proud of the students' hard work and dedication.
"I have served the United States Army proudly for twenty four years, and have traveled in many different states and in many different countries, but I have never seen a display like this," he said. "It means so very much."
Another special guest was Staff Sgt. Danielle Bliss, who serves in the Maryland Air National Guard. Bliss previously taught foreign language classes at NHMS before being called into federal service last year. She is included on the Wall of Honor.
"The Wall shows students what kind of impact the military has in their community," Bliss said.
About the Wall of Honor
Thomas Ford, a 7th grade social studies teacher and military veteran, said the project originally began around Veteran's Day 2010 when students in the Future Teachers of America club decided to honor the military.
He said the students were particularly inspired by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and wanted to create something similar using available resources.
The Wall consists of paper certificates that represent individuals from all branches of the U.S.
This year, the Wall, which was adopted by the 7th grade class, grew by 200 names.
"The students were more attuned to the project this year," he said. "More students became aware of the Wall of Honor throughout the school year. They wanted their Family members to receive recognition too."