Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

A steady stream of observers has trickled down the long corridor that separates the high school from the elementary school of the Silver Creek Central School District since the end of February. 

Some visit for athletic events, some stop by to pick up their children from musical rehearsal, and some are on campus for one of the many fundraisers or family engagement events that are open to the community. But all pause in silence to admire the new Veterans’ Tribute Wall, a huge display honoring local veterans from all branches of the military. 

“We envisioned visitors searching for their relatives’ names like on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.,” said elementary social studies teacher Jennifer Restivo, who facilitated the project. 

Fifteen students in Knights U – a before-school enrichment program – worked for four weeks to collaborate on the display that includes local servicemen and servicewomen representing all branches of the United States military. The third- through fifth-graders compiled the informational cards, facts and even designed the card display for each branch under the direction of Restivo, who has facilitated several patriotic and military-centered observations at SCES over the years, including Veterans Day and Memorial Day assemblies of recognition and learning. 

The Veterans’ Tribute Wall all started with an informational card campaign. Restivo encouraged her students to take home blank informational cards to share with their families in the hopes they would discover and find out more about veteran connections among their loved ones. They were also posted on the district’s website with an appeal for participants from the community. Once filled out, the cards were returned to SCES at the end of November, when the students began designing the layout. Following the holiday and mid-winter breaks, the wall slowly became a reality over four weeks during the before-school Knights U sessions. 

The Veterans’ Tribute Wall –  strategically located near the Athletic Wall of Fame near the high school gym -- was unveiled Wednesday, Feb. 27, to much fanfare. 

“I overheard one of the families say how nice it was to be with their family, and further stated ‘this is exactly why we are home, family is the world to us,’” said Principal Merrie Maxon of the well-attended event. “They hadn’t got together for a long time before we hosted the wall unveiling. The overwhelming feeling of joy and pride is truly unparalleled as our children and our students stand beside a family member or the picture of a family member whom is serving or whom has served.” 

But there’s one problem – a good problem: The Veterans’ Tribute Wall isn’t finished. The Silver Creek community is welcome and encouraged to add to the wall for the forseeable future.

Shortly after the official unveiling, a member of the SCCS maintenance staff approached Restivo to say he’d like to participate in the effort next year. She immediately gave him an informational card so he could be included this year. And so, the wall continues to grow. 

A folder with blank Veteran Informational Cards is posted next to the Veteran Tribute Wall along with a second folder for drop-off. Community members interested in contributing to the wall are encouraged to visit the school to pick up an informational card or contact Restivo at jrestivo@silvercreekschools.org. 

“Silver Creek wants to show our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all those who have served and those who are presently serving our country to ensure our freedom,” said Restivo. “I’d love for it to become a permanent fixture. We have no immediate plans to remove it and at this time it’s up for the extended future.”