Charter school salutes veterans

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Special to  The Daily News

With about 200 in attendance, the faculty and students of Northshore Charter School held their second annual veterans’ breakfast on Monday, Nov. 7, to pay homage to visiting veterans with special guest speaker Brig. Gen. Lee Hopkins and the WWII Victory Belles. Numerous “We Shall Never Forget” signs highlighted the theme of the program.

NCS assistant principal Tonja Varnado-Seal welcomed the guests on behalf of principal-director Dee Dee McCullough after the guests had enjoyed their full-course breakfast, prepared under the direction of Jeana Wheat.

Bogalusa’s famed color guard members presented the colors, after which student Nia White led the group in the pledge of allegiance, followed by Wheat’s singing of the national anthem, accompanied on the keyboard by choral director Milton Gholar. Next, the best-behaved students from grades kindergarten through third, honored the veterans with a rendition of “Thank you, Soldiers,” under the guidance of Bridget Knight.

“The beam on the veterans’ faces was as bright as that on the students’ faces,” Nannette Jackson said.

To recognize the final year of the military’s commander-in-chief, NCS student Christina Holmes read a tribute to President Barack Obama to acknowledge his contribution to education and to America’s veterans.

Prior to the entertainment by the Victory Belles, Varnado-Seal introduced Hopkins. A graduate of Bogalusa High School and LSU, Hopkins serves as the Director of the Joint Staff for the Louisiana National Guard. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and numerous other awards.

“America is still at war,” Hopkins said. “Thousands of soldiers are presently deployed on foreign soil, and as long as they are, America remains at war.”

Hopkins lamented that the problems incurred by service members today are very similar to those encountered by those in years past.

Following the program’s guest speaker, the WWII Victory Belles entertained the guests. The performers sang songs typical of the eras of previous wars and rendered a compilation of songs from each branch of the military. Veterans stood to salute their branch of the military as they heard their respective song.   

To conclude the program, the entire student body of Northshore Charter School joined the guests in the adjoining parking lot for the 21-gun salute, led by Bogalusa’s 40 & 8, and its bugler Gary Rushing.