Medal of Honor recipient to speak at Nov. 11 Veterans Day convocation

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This Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the school will host the annual Veterans Day convocation in the Dale E. Graham Auditorium during SRT. All seniors will attend, but it will also be broadcasted by CHTV to all other SRTs.

According to Will Ellery, coordinator for the Veterans Day convocation, US History teacher and IB coordinator, there are always two keynote speakers, both of whom are tied to the Carmel community. This year Captain Paul Bucha, a Medal of Honor recipient and uncle of senior Sam Pickett, will speak at the convocation.

Ellery said, “There are only 79 living Medal of Honor recipients in the United States. So to have the opportunity to have one come, especially to come on Veterans Day, is incredible. He was supposed to march in the New York City Veterans Day Parade, and he opted out of that to come speak at Carmel High School on Veterans Day, so we’re thrilled to have him.”

In addition to having Bucha speak, Peter O’Hara, lieutenant colonel and history teacher, will also give his annual speech in the Veterans Day convocation.

Ellery said, “His speech is always worth the price of admission cause it’s truly a fantastic speech.”

Despite Ellery’s key role in running the convocation, this event is mainly student run. The most crucial student role, however, is the master of ceremony. This year, senior Olivia Patterson has this role. As the master of ceremony, Patterson literally organizes everything.

Patterson said, “I am the one who is running the convo. I’ve worked with Mr. Ellery, and we’ve figured out what’s going to actually happen. I went and fixed up plans with the choir director, because we’ll have Ambassadors singing. I went and talked to the auditorium guy, Mr. Harvey, to figure out what’s actually going to happen in the auditorium, and I talked to the band director.”

According to Patterson, the ceremony will start off with Wind Symphony I playing “Amber Waves of Grain” as an introduction. Then, there will be the presentation of the colors followed by the pledge of allegiance, national anthem and an overview of the history of Veterans Day. Then, junior Yong Nan Zhou, the winner of the US History essay and speech contest for Veterans’ Day, will speak.

Ellery said, “The junior class US History students have the option of competing in an essay/speech contest, and we choose one student speaker to represent the students with their thoughts on the theme for the year.”

Following the student speaker are Bucha’s and O’Hara’s speeches. And finally, the convocation will end with Wind Symphony I’s annual playing of “Armed Forces Salute.”

Patterson said, “I love an opportunity to celebrate the men and women who have served for our country and for my freedom. I find this a very important aspect of our lives, and it’s an important thing to think about, and a lot of people don’t, and to have a day for everybody to stop and think about, I think, is important thing to do.”