For the past two years, Canton Middle School has presented wooden flags to World War II veterans.
And each one is hand made, right in Canton, as the school's wood shop cuts and other students paint, sand, stain and varnish before eighth-grade science teacher Cheryl Adams assembles the final products.
When Canton Middle School became separate from the high school, Adams worked with kids at the school to make a flag for principal Joseph Scheideler.
Three years ago when the school was expecting several World War II veterans for its Veterans Day celebration and wanted something special to give them.
Shop teachers and students cut the wood and each morning advisories worked on the flags.
"It is a good choice for Veterans," Adams said. "They sacrificed so much to protect that same symbol."
This year, students from Adams’ and Amy Nadeau's advisories helped make three of the flags and will create another for a veteran they met Friday.
For the first time Friday, the school presented one to a woman — JosephineBonesio Hinman, a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps who served overseas from August of 1945 to July of 1946.
Also Friday during the annual Veterans Day Ceremony, Adams’ advisory “virtually” presented a flag during a videoconference with Marine Capt. Jennifer Dymicki, a 2002 Canton High School graduate. They gave it to her father Ron on her behalf.
During her remarks, Dymicki said she was proud to serve but added that the day is really about those who went before.
“A special thank you to the veterans for all you’ve done,” she said. “I can not thank you enough.”
The ceremony, attended by numerous veterans, included many other activities, emceed by Student Council President Sean Sullivan. Students read selected works and paid tribute to each Canton native killed in action. They also individually introduced and recognized each veteran in attendance.
In addition, Marine Cpl. William Gimignani, who served on Iwo Jima, read a letter he wrote to his parents on March 21, 1945 (see attached .pdf).
Students have also spent the past several days making care packages and writing letter for current service members. Canton parent and veteran Drew Bartkiewicz announced that many of those letters are permanently preserved on his web site https://lettrs.com for the world to see.
At the end of the ceremony, the 8th grade band played a medley of each service song and the students hosted a breakfast for the veterans.
“There’s no way we can thank you and those like you that did so much to preserve our way of life,” Scheideler said
Gimignani said it is special that the school pays tribute in such a great fashion.
”It’s just wonderful that you recognize us in this way,” he said.