Apple Valley High School hosted its first Veterans Day celebration seven years ago.
This year, the school will continue its tradition of honoring veterans during its annual Veterans Day Assembly at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at the school’s gymnasium, 14450 Hayes Road. Members of the AVHS Student Council will also serve juice, coffee and bakery products to veterans and their families during a social time at 8:15 a.m. in the school’s cafeteria.
Assistant Principal Pete Buesgens said the school held its first celebration in 2012. Through discussions, school administrators realized many teachers were doing “engaging activities” in their classrooms on Veterans Day. The idea was to bring those activities together into a whole school assembly.
“Apple Valley High School has always had a strong relationship with the Apple Valley Post 1776 and so it seemed like a natural growth of the activities we were already doing,” he said.
The assembly has become a way to come together as an entire school community to honor veterans and their families in Apple Valley, according to Buesgens.
“It also gives our students an opportunity to see that many of them share connections with each other through their friends and family members who serve,” he said. “We also use this event to remember two AVHS graduates, Nathanael Doring and Christopher Goeke, who lost their lives in the service of our country. Both of those young men walked our halls, played on our teams, sat in our classrooms. It brings the sacrifices of our veterans closer to home for our students.”
During the assembly, American Legion Post 1776 will post and retire the colors. Attendees will hear performances from the AVHS Valley Select Chorale and the AVHS wind ensemble. There will be a moment of silence to remember military service members, including Doring and Goeke who died while serving.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Matthew Theis will be the keynote speaker. Buesgens said Theis is a 2001 AVHS graduate who grew up in Apple Valley. Theis enlisted in the Navy in March 2002 and is a naval nuclear engineer.
AVHS students Kayla McNaughton and Jacob Holmgren will also deliver Veterans Day messages during the assembly.
Buesgens said AVHS is humbled by the turnout of veterans and family members each year for the assembly.
“The support from the Apple Valley American Legion, our students and staff as well as members of the community has been tremendous,” he said.
Patty Dexter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.