ST. ALBANS — It is an honored tradition at St. Albans City School to support our men and women serving in the armed services. Each year the seventh and eighth graders in Team USA organize a breakfast for veterans and help organize the logistics of the Veterans Day parade.

hand print flag

The Hand Print Flag hanging in the main stairway with some of the St. Albans City School students who created it.

In preparation for the annual St. Albans City School Veteran’s Day float, students in Megan Martinson’s art classes created props and decorations along with a large flag using handprints to be displayed on the float. But when wind and rain made it difficult to attach the flag, they began brainstorming other ways in which to display it. When the announcement was made that 300 members of our Vermont Air National Guard were being deployed, we knew we had another opportunity to show our support to the families and friends in our community affected by the deployment.

Family and Consumer Science teacher Mary Ellen Lamb came up with the idea to display the flag in the school along with pictures of those deployed. Lamb has two sons, both St. Albans City School alumni, who recently returned from being deployed for six months overseas. Displaying the pictures allows those who pass by to send good thoughts to those who were overseas. We felt this would be a perfect opportunity for the school community to practice “Wishing Well” which is part of our school’s new conscious discipline system. The wishing well provides a visual way to aid children in wishing each other well. The flag created an amazing visual for our students to connect and wish well not just to their classmates, or even to our school family, but to the extended community family in the county and state.

When Team USA eighth grade student, Anniah Wright, heard that Lamb’s youngest son was part of the last group to return from deployment, she came up with a great idea. Wright volunteered to make a “Welcome Home Conor” poster that Lamb could take with her to the airport when she was reunited with her son. “I actually borrowed one of the pictures of Conor and his brother from the Wishing Well and attached it to the poster. I also asked every member of Team USA to sign it to show our appreciation for his service.” The photo has since been returned and next to it hangs a “Welcome Home” circle along with each of the others. As the men and women came home, a yellow circle was placed next to each picture with the words “Welcome Home” to indicate their return.

Students, especially those who pass by the flag every day, have been very excited to see the people they have been wishing well returning home safely.