I was honored to attend a wonderful program this week presented by our Covington Elementary students and staff honoring our veterans throughout the community.  The program was well organized, moving and patriotic. The kids and teachers put their heart and soul into the music and words...outstanding!  I was so thankful that several veterans and their families were able to attend. The gym was filled with a standing room only crowd to honor these great men and women.  As I stood with  the kids and crowd singing the star-spangled banner, I reflected on the sacrifices of the humble Americans standing at attention in the middle of the gym...our veterans. We owe them so much.

Just this week, many events occurred in our South Sioux City Community Schools, community or in our personal lives....because of our veterans. I would like to share a few celebrations from this week that were enjoyed because of the freedoms established through sacrifices made by our great men and women in the armed services.

The fantastic veterans day program and other events like it that put skilled,passionate teachers in front of our kids so that each may receive a free, public education every day.  American public education equips our children to pursue their dreams and whatever career they may choose in life.  This is possible…because of our veterans.

Our kids have free choice to also participate in several sports and extracurricular activities within that same public education setting.  All activities are provided under the direction of certified and prepared coaches and sponsors.  The students experience team, develop work ethic and learn skills through these programs that are offered for all.  Many of our students just completed a Fall sport, are participating in drama performances and/or are preparing for upcoming vocal and instrumental musical productions.  Last weekend, our unified bowling team, which is comprised of a diverse group of students including some with disabilities, was able to experience the joy of competing against other school teams in a tourney held in Norfolk.  They will continue to practice weekly.  Competitions will be held this season against other school unified bowling teams in Nebraska. These opportunities are possible....because of our veterans.

I was able to travel to Lincoln and participate in an event attended by our Governor and many other dignitaries to honor our Nebraska Teacher of the Year from Cardinal Elementary, Michelle Helt.  She is one of our many outstanding, dedicated teachers who pursued her dream of educating children.  She continually strives to improve her own teaching skills while collaborating with her colleagues and growing together.  Michelle will have a chance to travel throughout the state, nation and to other countries as an ambassador for our school and public education this year, sharing her passion.  This is possible...because of our veterans.

On a personal note, my son and I have been out the past couple weekends with our dog hunting pheasant and will also head out this weekend to enjoy some quality time together in the field engaged in hunting deer.  The right to bear arms, hunt, and be able to travel freely as a family in this great country pursuing some of those outdoor hobbies such as hunting and fishing are all possible...because of our veterans.

In closing, please take some time to reflect on the blessings we enjoy daily.  On this Veteran’s Day please take time to thank our great Americans that have served.  Think about the freedoms others across the world don’t have.  Realize how precious those freedoms are to us and how they were earned through sacrifices by our loved ones.   All this...because of our veterans.

Todd Strom, Superintendent
South Sioux City Community Schools