MOUNT VERNON — The students of the St. Vincent de Paul School’s Civics Club are no strangers to community engagement and patriotism.
The club has been performing community service to Mount Vernon’s Mound View Cemetery by placing flags on the graves of veterans who are buried there. This year’s Memorial Day flag placing service by the school was done Thursday morning.
The tradition of the Civics Club performing this community service goes back to almost three decades.
“For many years, elementary school students at St. Vincent de Paul School have been placing flags on the graves of veterans at Mound View Cemetery,” said Lori Watts, the clerk of Public Parks for the city of Mount Vernon. “Every year, our department makes sure that there are enough flags for the students to place on the graves.”
This community service project requires quite a bit of diligence on the part of the elementary school students who are also supposed to take this patriotic activity as a learning experience.
“This morning (Thursday) sixth, seventh and eighth-grade Civics Club members went to Mound View Cemetery to complete a service project that our school has been doing for over 28 years,” said Sharon Tharp, a sixth-grade homeroom teacher at St. Vincent. “The service project involved our students placing flags on the graves of veterans in the cemetery. There were over 1,700 flags used for this service project at Mound View.”
This year’s Memorial Day flag placing project was impacted by the COVID-19 crisis because school was not in session and the teachers who led the students with their project (Sharon Tharp and social studies teacher Beth Robinson) weren’t sure how many students were going to show up to the service activity that is, of course, non-mandatory. The teachers were happy with the turn-out, though, and the job of placing the flags on the veterans’ graves was well completed by the students.
“I really hope that our students were able to develop a sense of respect for what we are doing for veterans with this project,” said Tharp. “They should have learned about and developed a sense for both respect and responsibility during this service project.”
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