Duval students share talents, show their appreciation

Members of the Color Guard present the flag during a Veterans Day Program at Duval Elementary School.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.

Students at Duval Fine Arts Elementary School demonstrated their respect and appreciation to the men and women who serve or have served in the military by sharing their talents in the performing arts during a joyous Veterans Day celebration.

Keynote speaker and veteran Cleon Jenkins shared his experiences in the military and encouraged students to take advantage of opportunities.

"The military has been good to me," Jenkins told the more than 200 people, including parents and students, who attended the celebration Monday at Duval.

Jenkins said he was drafted in 1962 and served two years in active duty in the U.S. Army, followed by 35 years in the Army Reserve.

He said serving in the military enabled him to protect his country and to benefit personally because the military paid for his education in medical technology, which led to a successful 34-year career at Shands.

"I had a wonderful time in the military," Jenkins said. "It was very beneficial and I learned a lot. The opportunities are there, we just have to take them."

"Veterans have made great sacrifices on our behalf," said Donna Jones, principal at Duval. She said Veterans Day provided students with an opportunity to give back to the community and to show appreciation for the men and women who are serving or have served in the military.

Fifth-grade students honored veterans with music, poetry, dance and drama skits. Jo'Karia Kellum recited a poem titled "Freedom is not Free" by Ashley Persyn; Selena Summerall wowed the audience with her rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner;" Deanna Williams, Richard Williams and Antavia Woods performed a violin rendition to "America."

Jamal Johnson, Tehya Baker, Tatiana Patterson and Jaelyn Williams performed a drama skit titled "What is Veterans Day?" and on the piano, Kentavious Johnson played "The Caissons Go Rolling Along," by Major Edmund L. Gruber.

Fourth-grader Ernisha Pete, also on piano, played "There are Many Flags in Many Lands" by Paul Jennings.

For the grand finale, all of the performers came together for a musical and dance rendition of "God Bless America."

Angela Terrell, piano teacher at Duval, said celebrating Veterans Day is an important experience for the students.

"It's an opportunity to be informed to what the military does to keep us safe," Terrell said.

"And the students share their talents to honor our veterans."

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