Community Comes Together at Neenah’s New Performing Arts Center to Honor Veterans in Inspiring Ceremony

Neenah High School Veterans Day 2023
Montage of Veterans
Montage of Veterans
Photo by: Ava Yoblonski
The Event
The Event

American Studies students hosted a motivating ceremony honoring veterans on Nov. 10 in the “new” Performing Arts Center.

“Every year allows us to be grateful and appreciative of their service before or currently,” Superintendent Dr. Mary Pfeiffer said.

(Photo by: Ava Yoblonski)
Veterans Standing to be Honored
Student and Guest Speeches

For nine successive years, the American Studies class has collaborated to organize a Veterans Day ceremony. Individual students and veterans deliver speeches, discussing various military branches and their connections to the Constitution.

Among the crowd are numerous veterans who come to witness the presentations and receive honorable mentions during the ceremony. Students’ applause echoes through the halls as each veteran stands tall. 

Veterans Standing to be Honored (Photo by: Ava Yoblonski)
Guest Speaker Tristen Fritsch
Emotional Connections

Throughout the speeches, emotional connections to military service were evident. Guest speaker Tristen Fritsch, a veteran who served for five years with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, conveyed how his life aligned with a greater purpose through his service, inspiring the audience to pursue a similar path.

“Live your life in a meaningful way, be a good person, and do the right thing,” urged Fritsch, emphasizing how individuals could become their own heroes while supporting veterans.

Guest Speaker Tristen Fritsch (Photo by: Ava Yoblonski)
Line of Veterans
Lessons for Life

These profound lessons, highlighted through the presentations, were embodied by each veteran and viewer. Each branch of the military was represented at the ceremony. 

“The military helped me throughout my entire life, providing education opportunities and shaping my civilian career. What I learned there greatly influenced my work at Kimberly Clark,” Jerry Clusen, a Navy reserve veteran, said.

Clusen found purpose not just in his military service but also in the teaching it instilled.

Line of Veterans (Photo by: Ava Yoblonski)
Student Welcoming Veterans
Staff and Student Reactions

While these presentations were not intended to recruit for the military, they certainly sparked inspiration. Witnessing the contributions of veterans encourages respect among civilians.

“It sends a great message about what people do for us,” Principal Brian Wunderlich noted a sentiment echoed by others present.

The ceremony left many feeling fulfilled.

“The presentations were very well done, very fun. It was fascinating to honor our service members and former service members who defend our country’s peace,” Arthur Smurawa, a junior, expressed.

Student Welcoming Veterans (Photo by: Ava Yoblonski)
Neenah Orchestra
One for the Future

Ultimately, the high school students orchestrated a remarkable ceremony people can watch on YouTube, that left veterans feeling honored and students inspired.

Neenah plans to continue organizing such events, leveraging their new facilities and access to the old ones. Veterans Day signifies an opportunity for everyone to show support.

“Other than saying thank you, the biggest thing is to ensure our sacrifices contribute to making the country and its people better,” Fritsch said.

Neenah enlisted this celebration, but anyone can partake in honoring veterans by becoming the individuals for which veterans fight.

Neenah Orchestra (Photo by: Ava Yoblonski)
(Photo by: Ava Yoblonski)
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