Delaware City Schools held a Veterans Day assembly to honor veterans in the district.
In lieu of a traditional assembly, the event was part of a video created by the Hayes Cinematics class with the help of Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Manley and Maj. Matthew O’Brien, the instructors of the AFJROTC courses and musical groups at Hayes.
Thomas Hering, the cinematics class instructor, said Wednesday he was approached by Manley and O’Brien in September and asked about whether a virtual assembly for Veterans Day would be possible.
“They wanted, even during the pandemic, for our students to honor veterans and for our student body as a whole to still experience the assembly, but this time virtually since we can’t currently all gather in the auditorium,” Hering said in an email Wednesday.
Hering added he wanted to help with the video and said the virtual assembly would be a good learning experience for his class.
“This was a great opportunity for my video production students to learn the process for creating a large-scale production involving the choir, the band, adults within both Hayes and the DCS community, and the AFJROTC cadets, including the Color Guard team, the Flag Folding team, and the Armed Exhibition team,” Hering said. “As a class, we wanted to create this because when Senior Master Sgt. Manley asked us, we were honored to help make something so important to him, the major, and their cadets. We knew it would be a lot of work, but we’d learn a lot in the process.”
Hering said the toughest part of the video was making it accessible to a wide audience.
“The biggest challenge was that we wanted to pay respect to veterans of all ages, but also to make the video engaging enough that even kindergartners could watch it,” Hering said.
Students were involved in filming and editing the video, which Hering said was a learning experience for him as a teacher.
“Because of the pandemic and our hybrid schedule, getting the students involved was trickier, but it helped me grow as a teacher to keep finding ways to give them as much ownership and creative control as possible,” Hering said. “We all learned and grew from this project. We wish the pandemic would be over, but we also know it is pushing us to be our best in many new ways.”
The video was viewed throughout the district and includes performances from the choir, band, and a drill performance from the AFJROTC team, as well as addresses from Hayes Principal Ric Stranges, Superintendent Heidi Kegley, and a flag folding presentation narrated by former superintendent and retired Ohio Army National Guard Col. Paul Craft.
“It isn’t often that we can get so many different groups involved in a project,” Hering said. “This was awesome. We have heard students talk about a deeper understanding of not just thanking our veterans, but also how many of them are around us.”
The video also included a montage of the 18 veterans serving in the district, including teachers and staff.
“During this part of the video, you could see kids pointing at the screen as they recognized their former teachers, bus drivers, and other staff who had impacted them,” Hering said. “They now know better what it means to be a veteran — that these Americans served when in uniform and continue to make America a better place within our schools. They never stop serving others.”
The assembly can be found at https://youtu.be/u6opxN5WuL0 or on the Delaware City Schools Facebook page.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.