The principal of the John Wickes Elementary School sees the celebration of Flag Day and other national holidays as a vital part of keeping patriotic spirits up in kids.
Roy Costa believes that celebrating the flag’s birthday is important for kids and has celebrated Flag Day ever since he became a teacher and is now a principal.
“Celebrating Flag Day is a tradition to keep,” said Costa during a speech to the entire school, teachers and some visiting parents on Monday morning.
June 14 is the nation’s official Flag Day, and the school had planned to celebrate on the Friday before, June 13, but rain pushed them to reschedule to yesterday.
“We need to instill it into the children,” said Costa. “If the school doesn’t do it, no one will.”
Some students knew the history behind this holiday but all were willing to join each other outside.
“It’s fun to get out of class,” said a first grade boy.
As each grade filed out in front of the school’s flagpole and asked what Flag Day was all about, some of the students shrugged.
“Today is when we celebrate the first person who made the American flag,” said second-grader Emily.
First-grader Kaylee was certain that Flag Day “is to celebrate the flag.”
As the flag was hoisted, students looked up to the sky and said the pledge of allegiance.
Afterward, the school’s music teacher, Nicholas Reed, played the ukulele while students sang with him to their practiced songs, “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
Costa thanked Reed for teaching some of the country’s songs to the school’s students and helping raise patriotism in the school.
“A few years back, boys and girls didn’t know any patriotic songs,” said Costa.
This was the third year kindergarteners through sixth-graders sang the songs on the holiday.
The students were told the history of the flag’s birthday dating back to 1885 when a Wisconsin teacher celebrated his own respect for the flag and all the things it stood for. In 1949, President Truman designated it a national holiday after organized ceremonies became frequent nationwide.
Following the outdoor celebration, more parents arrived to watch students perform a music recital in the school’s auditorium.
The Wickes School also holds a ceremony for students to remember Sept. 11 every year.