By Natalie MAIER
“Thank you for your service!” “Thank you.” “We appreciate your service.”
Middle school students formed a line to high-five veterans on March 6 at Rosemont’s Walk-a-thon, a fundraiser for the Veterans Memorial Wall at Two Strike Park.
The walk-a-thon was hosted by the California Junior Scholarship Federation (CJSF), which emphasizes high standards and community service by junior high school students. English teachers Shannon Kracker, Jody Mottern and Lisa Avery were the primary organizers of the walk-a-thon.
To participate in the walk, students were required to make a donation to the memorial wall and then they received a raffle ticket for prizes. For every $10 raised, they would receive an additional ticket. Kracker said the largest donation from a student was $81.
Mike Baldwin, one of the veterans in attendance at the walk-a-thon, said that one of the main reasons they are reconstructing the wall was to be able to add the 38 or 39 names of the La Crescenta veterans who were killed in action while serving their country. Construction on the Veterans Memorial Wall at Two Strike Park will begin around April 15.
After the final bell rung signaling the conclusion of the school day, 220 students assembled on the lower field, eager and excited to get started. At around 3 p.m., students began walking the perimeter of the lower field. Patriotic music played in the background as the ticket numbers were called out over the loud speaker and students searched their tickets to see if they won. CJSF donated the majority of the prizes for the students; other prizes were donated by Rosemont teachers.
“Ahh, man!” many of them griped if their ticket number wasn’t called. Cheers and screams were heard if they did win as they rushed over to claim their prize.
The prizes included bags of candy, In & Out gift cards, cut-in-front of the line passes and thin mint cookies.
The air was crisp with a cloud covering and a slight drizzle, but most of the students failed to notice the cold; they were focused on winning prizes.
Former Rosemont history teacher Lynn McGinnis expressed his gratitude toward the community for all the support and help they have shown toward the veterans. He specifically thanked the Rosemont Middle School students for their donations.
“This has been an awesome outpouring,” he said. “They have come on board and pushed us over the edge.”
Rosemont Principal Dr. Cynthia Livingston beamed with pride as she praised the student’s involvement with the walk-a-thon. She said happy she was to see how they were giving back to the community. She added that, for many of them, the wall is part of their daily lives because they walk past it on their way to or from school.
She looked around wearing a pleased smile and said, “They all could be doing something else but they chose to be here. When we give them opportunities, they always rise to the occasion.”
CJSF president and eighth grader Brendan Caver hoped that his peers gained a sense of patriotism from the walk-a-thon.
“I hope they will see how lucky we are and be thankful for all the people who fought for us,” he said.
CJSF treasurer and eighth grader Stephanie Hwang was all smiles as she explained her enjoyment of being involved in the walk-a-thon.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “We get to help out.”