Stillman students honor veterans


STILLMAN VALLEY – Meridian Junior High School celebrated Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 8. 

During the shortened day, the students attended various activities. They wrote cards to be sent to Stillman Valley High School Alumni serving in the different branches, they completed a 1 mile walk for Dark Horse Lodge Trek for Troops with some of our students even running the mile. 

All students also listened to Members of the Northern Illinois University ROTC. They were Ryan Schunemann, Keith Buchanan and ROTC Cadets CDT Huhta, CDT Orjuela, CDT Hunter from NIU. They spoke to our students and staff about the importance of Veteran’s Day and why we celebrate it. They shared videos and answered questions from students and staff. Also, during the day, the eighth-grade students watched videos from the Harlem Veterans Project.

 The day concluded with an assembly in the gym. The Scout Troops presented the colors and led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Students from the 7th and 8th grade choirs sang the Star-Spangled Banner. The 7th, and 8th grade chorus together with their director, Jordan Pedigo performed In Flanders Fields. The 7th and 8th grade band directed by Eric Johnson followed by performing the Armed Forces March 

“The band and chorus always sound fantastic. They worked really hard in putting these songs together and I get chills and always feel such a sense of pride when they perform on this day,” said Kelly Gale, one of the organizers. 

Students were asked to bring a veteran to the assembly. During the assembly, the students introduced their veteran, how they know them, and told the school what military branch they were in. The students are usually nervous to stand up and speak to their classmates and their guests. 
For the second year in a row, 7th grader, Jace Williams, has brought his Grandpa Bill to the assembly. 

“My Grandpa (Bepa) served during the Vietnam war and I wanted him to be honored during the assembly,” he said. “I think it is really cool because he served, and veterans have helped keep people safe and risked their lives for my freedom.” 

The students were then given the opportunity to shake hands with the veterans and thank them for their service to our country.  More than 30 students recognized Veterans this year.

The school also held a Dress for Dark Horse Lodge fundraiser earlier in the year that coincided with Homecoming week at the high school.  Students from MJHS and staff had a week of dress up days in which they would donate $1 each day that they dressed up. That week MJHS students and staff raised $824.  Later in the year the staff from the Meridian District were asked to donate to Dark Horse Lodge. The total raised was $1,170.50. Dark Horse Lodge a retreat for combat veterans in Paris, Tenn. For more information on Dark Horse Lodge, please visit

Organizers Kelli Zitzke and Kelly Gale would like to thank the students and staff at MJHS for their support and generosity for this special day. They would also like to thank the Veterans and NIU ROTC members that participated in our event all veterans for their service to our country.

Please visit for more pictures from our 2019 Veteran’s Day Celebration.