Northfield program draws veterans from coast to coast

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Korean War veteran Robert Webb presents a plaque honoring Northfield Community School and veterans advocate Mary Ann Devine.  Photo by Suzanne Marino Korean War veteran Robert Webb presents a plaque honoring Northfield Community School and veterans advocate Mary Ann Devine. Photo by Suzanne Marino

NORTHFIELD – Veterans Day at the NorthfieldCommunitySchool is possibly the most special day of the year at the Middle School.

Seventh-grade teacher Mary Ann Devine makes sure that no student leaves without a true understanding of what the men and women who put on a uniform mean to the nation and to each of the boys and girls in the school. She does that by assigning a project to seventh-graders that forces them to do more than read a book or look something up on the Internet.

The students can choose a neighbor, a relative or someone else who is a veteran to do a project on, or Devine will assign them one. The student then sets up a time to interview the veteran and learn firsthand what their time in the military was really like.

Seventh-grader Tia Randolph chose to do her project on her uncle, Michael Clampff, who she had not seen in three years since he moved to Spokane, Wash. She called him and they talked about his experience, then created a display board like the rest of her classmates.

On Friday morning, Randolph sat listening to the other students introduce the veterans who were able to attend. Little did Randolph know that she had a surprise coming: Her uncle flew in from Spokane for the program and to visit with her family.

The whole school welcomed Clampff with a standing ovation as Tia stood a little shocked and shed a few tears as she gave her uncle a big hug.

“It had been a long time since I talked to my uncle, but I am so glad we did this project,” she said after the program.

“I am really proud of him and what he did in the service. But I am really glad for another reason that we did the project. I learned about all these people in town, people who I would never know are really heroes, and that is really pretty cool,” she said.

Before the end of the program, Korean veteran and former Northfield police officer Bob Webb, a U.S. Navy veteran, presented Devine with a plaque for her continuing effort to keep veterans involved in the school.  

Veterans salute during the playing of taps at the Veterans Day program at NCS. From left are Louis Nirenberg, Louis Jacques, a 101-year-old Northfield veteran, and Todd Jackson. Veterans salute during the playing of taps at the Veterans Day program at NCS. From left are Louis Nirenberg, Louis Jacques, a 101-year-old Northfield veteran, and Todd Jackson.

Students hold up signs thanking each veteran in attendance for his service to the country. Students hold up signs thanking each veteran in attendance for his service to the country.

Seventh-grader Tia Randolph shows off the project she did on her uncle, Michael Clampff, who surprised her by flying in from Spokane, Wash., for the program.

Photos by Suzanne Marino


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