Sapulpa students honor our nation’s heroes for Veterans Day

(SPS) — Sapulpa students across the district honored veterans last week with assemblies, performances and artwork.

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Sapulpa Junior High and Sapulpa High School held separate presentations at Shaw Auditorium on Thursday, November 10.

JRTOC instructor Lt Col William Shannon, USMC (Ret) led the assembly which featured a ceremonial cake-cutting to celebrate the 247th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

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JROTC adjutant, sophomore SSgt Sydney Burrow, read the Commandments of the Marine Corps birthday message and  introduced the traditional passing of cake.

The passing of cake from the oldest to the youngest Marine demonstrates the passing of the honor, experience, and heart of the USMC to the next generation of Marines to carry on.

The ceremony also included the symbolic lighting of the candle at a table set to remember POW-MIAs from all wars.

Special guest, Oklahoma Senator-elect for District 12, Lt Col Todd Gollihare, USMC (Ret), spoke to students, urging them remember and honor the sacrifices and service of our nation’s veterans, to express gratitude, and to harness their own potential.

Former Sapulpa Junior-Senior High School principal John Cockrum, a WWII Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Piranha in the Pacific and a Cherokee Warrior, attended and was recognized at the high school assembly Thursday.

Mr. Cockrum, 96, worked for Sapulpa Public Schools for 27 years, many of those as principal, and later, as Assistant Superintendent. He remains an active member of Sapulpa’s community and continues to serve our school district with the annual SPS Foundation Golf Tournament that bears his name.

Elementary schools also held assemblies, including the community favorite, “Celebrate Freedom: A Salute to Our Veterans,” at Freedom Elementary, which was followed by lunch for veterans and their families. Students gave veterans handmade cards and gifts, and shook their hands, as veterans stood to be recognized. 

Holmes Park Elementary showed their heartfelt appreciation for our veterans during their program on Friday, which was in-person for the first time since 2019.

During the patriotic assembly, principal Roger Johnson announced that David Arnold and Curtis Hillis will be added to the expanding Hall of Heroes. SFC Arnold was the father of Holmes Park PreK teacher Rebekah Anderson.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 18 million living veterans today. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs projects that number will drop to 12.5 million in 2046.

Thank you to all of our veterans for their service.