SIDNEY — Each year, Study Skills students at Sidney Middle School take part in a fundraiser, with the purpose of encouraging students to practice being selfless for a good cause rather than being selfish.
Two years ago, the students raised money to help the Veterans to Washington, D.C., group defray the cost of the trip to Washington, D.C., for local veterans. Last year, the students donated canned goods to the Alpha Center. This year, the students decided to raise funds to replace Sidney Middle School’s U.S. flag, which flies in front of the school.
“The old flag was weathered and worn, and so small it didn’t truly represent our pride and thankfulness of our veterans and of the great nation in which we live,” said Larry Hoel, SMS Study Skills monitor.
The fundraiser was a huge success and actually raised more money than necessary for one flag, so two flags were purchased — one for the flagpole outside and one for the atrium inside near the main office.
“There is no greater symbol and reminder of sacrifice than the United States flag. It represents not only all 50 states, but also the freedom we have because of the blood that was shed for us,” said Hoel. “As important and symbolic as that is, we feel our flag should make a statement — that we are thankful and proud to be Americans.”
With the help of the American Legion Post 217 members Chuck Craynon and Dick Snyder, U.S. Marines Ian Setili and Jackson Kirkpatrick, and SMS Assistant Principal Michel Moore and SMS sixth-grade teacher Nish Golden, both veterans, the flags were dedicated on Veterans Day. Students gathered outside as the old flag was ceremoniously retired and the new flag was raised. Sidney Middle School’s eighth-grade band and choirs performed the national anthem as the new flag was raised.
Inside, the second new flag was dedicated. Hoel quoted the late Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance. Because the fundraiser was such a success, an additional $200 from the funds raised was donated to the Dayton VA Hospital. Crayon also presented Sidney Middle School with the Red, White, and Blue Award on behalf of the American Legion, for outstanding faith and understanding concerning the principles upon which the United States of America was founded, and for communicating this spirit to fellow citizens with patriotic examples.