SHERRARD — An honorary military board featuring the names of alumni veterans is planned at Sherrard High School.
Connie Helm, assistant activities director at the school, said she came across the idea in a school product magazine. The proposed board will honor Sherrard and Winola high school graduates who have served or currently are serving in the military.
“I want kids to be thinking about their next step,” said Sherrard Activities Director Michael Applegate. The tribute, he said, is a great way to create a longstanding tradition in the school.
“We have some people that are giving and we’re very lucky and fortunate for that,” he said. “I think that always needs to be exemplified and modeled.”
Applegate said the tribute will both honor those who served and provide a visual for students considering their options following graduation. On average, three to four Sherrard graduates annually go on to serve in a branch of the military.
“That connection they have — that can always be a permanent fixture,” said Applegate.
He said there was a big response to a request for help on the school district’s Facebook page. The school hopes to get as many names as it can before the tribute is created so it can be as current as possible. Annually, names will be added to the tribute board as students join the military.
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Family ties bring a passion to the project. Helm’s son, Dalon, a 2012 Sherrard graduate, currently is serving in the Air Force.
She noted two recent Sherrard grads lost their lives while serving. Cpl. Bryant J. “B.J.” Luxmore, a 2005 graduate, was killed in action in 2012 in Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Robert F. Baldwin, a 1989 graduate, died in a 2010 helicopter crash during combat operations in Afghanistan.
Sherrard’s All School Senate will be donating for the project.
“I just think as leaders of this school it’s important to show support for military … past family members that have served,” said special education teacher Vanessa Redpath, Senate sponsor.
The tribute also holds special meaning for Redpath. Her father, grandfather and cousin are all Sherrard graduates who served in the military.
The tribute board is planned for an open wall space in the commons area near the gymnasium. Organizers hope to have the project completed by Veteran’s Day this fall.
To submit a name, people should contact Helm at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the student’s name, date graduated and branch of military.