Upper St. Clair High School Students Honor All Vets!
The Annual Upper St. Clair High School (USCHS) Veterans Day Assembly was held on Monday, November 9 in the USCHS Theatre. The all-school event featured performances by the high school choir and marching band, Presentation of the Colors by the South Hills Honor Guard, special recognition of faculty and staff veterans, and veterans serving as guest speakers.
The theme of this year’s presentation was “Life Lessons from our Veterans.” After honoring our faculty and staff veterans, Mr. David Reese, a Veteran of the Army, and Mr. Dan Pultz, a Marine who served in the Vietnam War, addressed the students and staff. Towards the end of the assembly, a “question and answer” session was led by four student representatives:
Among those who honorably served our country, tributes to the following members of the faculty and school staff were presented during the assembly. Quotes or “life lessons” from many of these veterans were shared with the students.
- Antonio Orsini (9th grade)
- Taylor Bartusiak (10th grade)
- Sarah Rubino (11th grade)
- Evan Strain (12th grade)
Social Studies teacher, master of ceremony, and assembly organizer Mr. Daniel Zelenski presented the symbolic “Fallen Comrade Table” (text quoted from Signal Corp Regiment Association):
- Mr. Lee Altman, bus driver, U.S. Air Force 1962-1966
- Mr. Ed Callahan, retired High School science teacher, U.S. Navy 1965-1969
- Ms. Kelley Dykstra, High School health room aide, Army Nurse Corp 2010-2015
- Mr. Bill Jordan, High School custodian, U.S. Marines 1980-1984
- Mr. Roy Legacy, retired maintenance worker, U.S. Navy 1944-1987
- Ms. Christine McCown, Fort Couch teacher aide, U.S. Army 1988-1996
- Major Gary McCullough, Boyce science teacher, currently serving in Air National Guard
- Mr. Fred Peskorski, High School technology education teacher, U.S. Army Reserves 1992-1998
- Chief Master Sergeant George Salamacha, High School security officer, U.S. Air Force for 29 years and Air National Guard from 1971-2000
- Mr. Tom Smedley, retired High School math and physics teacher and curriculum leader, Pennsylvania National Guard 1974-2004
- Mr. Rob Sully, Boyce teacher, Pennsylvania Air National Guard
A small table, set for one, is in a place of honor. This table is our way of acknowledging that members of our proud profession of arms are missing from our midst. They are those Killed in Action, Prisoners of War, and those that are listed as Missing in Action. We call them brothers and sisters. They are unable to be with us this evening, so we remember them through the many symbols at this table.
The tablecloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.
The single rose in the vase reminds us of those families and loved ones of our Comrades-in-Arms who have fallen.
The red ribbon tied so prominently on the vase, is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn upon the lapel and breast of thousands who bear witness to their underlying determination to demand a proper accounting of our missing.
A slice of lemon is on the bread plate, to remind us of their bitter fate.
The salt is symbolic of the tears; theirs and ours.
The glass is inverted; they cannot toast with us this night.
The chair is empty; they are not here.
Remember, all of you who served with them and called them comrade, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely they have not forgotten you.
After several video clips of veterans’ stories, the kick-off of a “thank you letter writing campaign” to servicemen and women was announced, inviting students to express their appreciation of veterans during their free mods November 9-10.
Pictured from top to bottom:
Picture 1: Mr. Daniel Zelenski prepared “The Fallen Comrade” table while the USCHS Marching band played a medley of U.S. armed forces selections as the students arrived to the assembly.
Picture 2: After the official Presentation of Colors by the South Hills Honor Guard, the Upper St. Clair High School Chanteclairs, under the direction of choral director Ms. Lorraine Milovac, sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Picture 3: Veterans Mr. Dan Pultz (left) and Mr. David Reese were guest speakers.
Picture 4: Several of the featured USC staff members who served their country were (left to right) Chief Master Sergeant George Salamacha, Mr. Ed Callahan, and Mr. Fred Peskorski.
Click here for more pictures taken at the assembly that day.