Waller High School Honors Veterans
Nov. 9, the Waller High School (WHS) gym was filled with students and United States military veterans and their families for the school’s 35th Annual Veterans Day Program. The program is put together by WHS student leaders with the assistance of WHS and Waller ISD (WISD) staff. It is well-known in the community for its honorable tribute to service men and women and this year’s program did not disappoint. The program featured students from WHS Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC), Band, Box of Stars Theatre, Certified Nurses Aide, Choir, Debate Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Farmers of America (FFA), Student Council, and Wranglerettes.
Student Council representative Daisy Saldana welcomed the guests and opened the program introducing Student Council President Angel Radcliffe who served as master of ceremony. AFJROTC posted the flags and pledges were led by FFA members Payton Coursey and Meagan Broadus. Students Brianna Alvarenga and Avery Brill sang the Star Spangled Banner. The Flags of America were honored by AFJROTC Cadet Captain Logan Robertson and the poem “Thought for Today” was read by Macy Jones. The Elite Treble Choir sang “I Hear America Singing” and Debate Team members read words from former Presidents. Upperclassmen reenacted the statues of Military War Memorials and a description of each was narrated by Student Council representatives Adrienne Hill, Kaili Manthei, Cole Holladay, Kelton Rozell, Neyla Vazquez, and Daisy Saldana.
AFJROTC Cadet Major Lizabeth Wences introduced the keynote speaker, retired Air Force Master Sergeant Joel Barnett who ended his speech reminding students that freedom is not free and quoting words he once heard from President Ronald Reagan. “Your freedom is only one generation away from being lost forever...I challenge you to make sure it’s not your generation. Don’t lose our freedom,” Barnett said. His words were met with applause from all and a standing ovation.
WHS Wranglerettes performed a dance to the song “Airborne Ranger Infantry” and the AFJROTC Phantom Drill Team presented a special drill routine. Box of Stars Theatre officer Cole Holladay announced each military branch as the band played the Armed Forces Salute and Student Council members presented veterans with poppies, a symbol of the sacrifice made by veterans, and a challenge coin.
Finally, the AFJROTC completed a folding of the flag ceremony and the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action flag history, followed by the playing of Taps by Shayla Smith and Chris Rodriguez. WISD Superintendent Kevin Moran and WHS Principal Stephanie Fletcher made closing remarks thanking veterans and their families for their service, students for all their work on the program, and reminding all that WISD is committed to school, service, and family.