Students hear from veterans on their day

For many students across the country, Veterans Day is just another day off from school when they do not have to worry about homework or an early alarm clock. For Trumbull High students, however, Nov. 11 brings with it a solemn commemoration of all those who have donned the nation’s uniform.

Each Veterans Day, Trumbull High students take part in programs aimed to raise awareness and convey gratitude for current and former members of the armed forces. With Veterans Day falling on a weekend this year, students and staff held the school’s annual recognition on Monday, Nov. 12.

For students in grades 9 through 11, specially curated videos were shown during all period 3 classes. These videos include age-appropriate commentary by members of Trumbull’s own veteran community about life in the military, as well as interviews with family members of veterans who described their experience of having a loved one serving overseas.

“It's a great learning experience,” said Katherine Rubano, the chair of the Trumbull High Social Studies Department, who organized the school’s commemoration. “I’m really happy that we’re in school today. Otherwise, it would not be the important day that it should be in our country.”

For seniors, the day’s events included the annual Veterans Day assembly, which all Trumbull-area veterans were invited to attend. During the assembly, the Class of 2019 had the opportunity to ask questions of members of Trumbull’s local American Legion and VFW posts, and heard from several highlighted speakers.

The assembly presents an infrequent opportunity for students to hear from veterans who have served both in peacetime and in conflicts ranging from World War II to the War on Terror. For Specialist Christopher Lyons, who graduated from Trumbull High in 2016 and currently serves in the Army, returning to the annual assembly as an invited guest was a special moment.

“It meant a lot to come back to see the community,” said Lyons. “All the veterans were brought to tears by the performances and the words that were said.”

The event’s speakers included former Army Captain Jay King, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gary Cialfi, and First Selectman Vicki Tesoro. The Trumbull High band and chamber singers also performed.

The Veterans Day program also provides an unusual opportunity for teachers who have served in the military to offer their students insight to their service and experiences. Shaun Liebskind, a French teacher and former Army officer, reflected on his time in uniform.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said.

He credits much of his academic acumen to his time in the service. Students, too, said there was value in having former servicemen in the classroom.

“Sometimes, young people forget that generations before us have fought for our country,” said Ryan Cranston, a senior and aspiring Army officer who was recently nominated to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “Having role models in the building is something special and a blessing I try not to take for granted.”