From a Vision to a Legacy: Port Jefferson School District’s Armed Forces Tribute

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Grey skies were a fitting backdrop to honor former students and staff members who helped to protect and preserve the country’s freedoms at the Port Jefferson School District’s Armed Forces Tribute, held May 30 at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

Months of planning, school and community involvement and detailed organizing and implementing of many aspects of the tribute culminated in a skillfully constructed ceremonious salute to military personnel.

Welcoming remarks by Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Principal Christine Austen, senior Reid Biondo, Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margo Garant and Superintendent of School Dr. Paul Casciano set a stage of pride for the dozens of guests and hundreds of students present for the dedication. Senior Chloe Andriani led them in the Pledge of Allegiance, members of the Port Jefferson Fire Department Color Guard paraded the American flag and veteran James Henke shared his sentiments before fifth-grade and second-grade students recited poems they created especially for the event. Other Port Jefferson students involved in the occasion were the Port Jefferson Middle School band, who performed under the direction of teacher Ed Pisano; high school senior Gabe Zoda who created two benches that sit at the tribute’s Path of Honor and senior David Rotunno who performed Taps on trumpet.

For those who were not able to attend the ceremony, a public recognition will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 9:30 a.m.