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Veterans' Day programs at MASD

MEYERSDALE - The Meyersdale Area School District will once again be hosting and honoring local veterans with a special program and luncheon on Monday, November 11, 2019. All three schools have planned special programs, activities and performances to honor these honorable men and women. 

“This annual program brings together all levels at the Meyersdale Area School District; uniting administration, faculty, staff and all students from pre-K to seniors together in one united effort to honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country,” explained John Wiltrout, High School Principal. “This is one of the most meaningful and special days we have here at the school and it is a true privilege to welcome these men and women to our school.”

 The first part of the day’s remembrance will be held at the high school. Veterans are invited to attend a welcome reception at 9 a.m. in the high school gymnasium. Light refreshments will be available. The program is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. with the presentation of colors and musical performances by the Meyersdale Area High School Band. High School Principal John Wiltrout will welcome the veterans and the Girl and Boy of the Year, Sarah DiPasquale and Drake Gindlesperger, will serve as the emcees of the event.

The guest speaker for the program will be Mr. Craig Staresinich. Staresinish is a familiar face in the Meyersdale Area School District as he is a sponsor of the annual Challenge Program. Before retiring and dedicating his time to volunteering, Staresinich played an integral role in the advancement of our Nation’s space programs. Born in 1948, in New Jersey, Staresinich grew up in New Jersey and also lived in the Philippines and Japan. Following high school, he enrolled in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Following graduation in 1969, he was hired by the Manned Spacecraft Center, which later became known as NASA. During his time at NASA, Staresinich worked in Mission Control. He was assigned to Mission Control right after Apollo 11 landed on the moon. During his tenure at NASA, he  worked on Apollo missions, Skylab and the early phase of the Space Shuttle program. In 1983, Staresinich was hired by TRW (later acquired by Northrop Grumman) to build satellites, some launched aboard the Space Shuttle. He was later named Vice President and Program Manager at Northrop Grumman. His extensive resume includes work on the Chandra X ray Observatory built for NASA and launched aboard Space Shuttle in 1999. Since his retirement in 2008, Staresinich has dedicated much of his time to volunteering. He greatly enjoys working with Meals on Wheels, Capital Hospice and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). But, his favorite outreach efforts include visiting schools throughout our region for The Challenge Program and serving as Santa Claus at various special events!   

Following the program, veterans are invited to attend a luncheon in their honor, hosted by the Meyersdale Middle School. Held in the cafeteria, this program will include speakers and special music. The luncheon is free for all Veterans. 

After the luncheon, veterans and guests are invited to the elementary gym for a sing-along with the elementary students at 1 p.m. According to Mr. Pritts, elementary principal, fifth grade students will be reading poems dedicated to our Veterans. Fourth grade students have created a Veterans collage poster that will be on display. Students in grades K through three have made decorations in honor of Veterans which will be on display throughout the building. 

Organizing this special day is an honor for MASD. To have the opportunity to properly honor and recognize the local Veterans has become a tradition both enjoyed and revered by all those involved. The District’s efforts were recently recognized by the Mountain Side Marines, Detachment #1071, out of Cumberland, MD. Representatives recently presented the MASD  with a special plaque featuring the following inscription: “In appreciation for your recognition of our area’s Veteran population & supporting our Veteran’s Day visits, where we remind everybody that the freedoms we enjoy everyday are not free.” MASD is proud to demonstrate the proper honor and respect for area Veterans and plans to maintain this tradition for many years to come. 

Veterans planning to attend are asked to make their luncheon reservations by Monday, November 4 by calling 634-1437 ext. 338 or 634-8311 ext. 323. Veterans’ meals are free and guests’ meals are just $3.00. Additionally, veterans and their guests are asked to bring their driver’s license or other photo identification due to the security system in place throughout the district.