To honor and pay tribute to alumni who have served in the military, High School West held the official ribbon-cutting and grand opening of its Wall of Heroes on Nov. 16.
The project began last year when five High School West leadership students – Sophia Emma, Shayna Moses, Chloe Mango, Paige Diecidue and Rociel Raymundo – spearheaded an initiative that honors, recognizes and connects alumni who served in the military back to their roots in Smithtown.
“The power of our youth is immeasurable,” said High School West Principal John Coady. “These young ladies came to me with this idea. They took this project upon themselves from start to finish. It goes to show you how motivated and powerful these students are. It brings me great pride to say we have the best students in this community. This wall is here because of our veterans who have faithfully served our country to protect our freedoms and liberty.”
The project began as a part of a social studies leadership class assignment, under the direction of High School West social studies teacher Joan Havranek. “Every year I have my leadership students work on a final project that involves civil service,” she said. “When we began, we did not know what to expect. Now, here we are honoring 70 brave men and women. We truly do thank all of you for your service. We cannot say thank you enough.”
The formal ribbon-cutting was done by the students who started the project last year and have since graduated. Now, the Wall of Heroes boasts 70 plaques honoring veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Plaques of each of the “heroes” are mounted along the walls, featuring the name, branch of service and year of graduation.