WESTFIELD - Students at Westfield Academy and Central School took part in a Voice of Democracy program on Friday, Dec. 21.
At 9:15 a.m., Veterans of Foreign Wars Quartermaster Jim Irwin, Commander Robert McIntosh and Ladies Auxillary President June Shuster presented teacher awards to WACS social studies teacher Greg Birner and WACS Secondary Principal Ivana Hite. Birner received a certificate of appreciation, teacher VOD medallion and certificate of recognition for WACS, each item acknowledging the demonstrated interest in furthering patriotism and increasing awareness of American ideals. Student awards were given to Greg Momberger, Kristin Grohol and Rebekah Herr, who was absent.
Schuster contacted Birner earlier this year and asked if the school would like to be involved. Birner gave his students a volunteer assignment to put together a three to five minute speech on "Is the Constitution still relevant today?" He made it voluntary since his students already have a great deal on their plates in his We The People class, but three special students - Grohol, Momberger and Herr - stepped up to the plate. Each earned VOD commemorative dog tags, a backpack, gold, silver or bronze medal and a cash prize.
Westfield Academy and Central School social studies teacher Greg Birner, Marine Master Sgt. Desert Storm Veteran Bob McIntosh, Kristen Grohol, Greg Momberger, and June Schuster. Absent from the photo is Rebekah Herr, WACS Secondary Principal Ivana Hite and Marine Sgt. Vietnam Veteran Jim Irwin.
"I am very proud of them for doing such a fine job, even more proud that it was volunteer work," Birner said. "I think it makes it that much more special."
This program and the Patriot Pens are VFW sponsored annual contests that provide awards at multiple levels and a chance to win a $30,000 scholarship with a trip to the U.S. Capitol in March for the national contestants. Further details at the school guidance office or at www.VFW.org.
Birner noted it was nice for the assembly to occur when it did.
"We took the time to think of our servicemen, past and present, that are serving and have served overseas without their loved ones nearby," Birner said. "If we are going to ask them to serve our country this way, the Constitution had better be still relevant. It is what they defend, our way of life, preserved in this document, that these three wonderful students wrote a speech for."
A minute of silence was observed at 9:30 for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.