Chartiers Valley students honored veterans from our community who lost their lives serving our country in World War II at a Memorial Dedication on May 16, 2017.
This year’s memorial project was led by twelve High School students – Jenna Karbowski, Jon Henderson, Miranda Griffith, Olivia Namee, Nathan Mitrik, Rachel Chidlow, Abby Chidlow, Matt Tolmer, Emma Grunebach, Melody Sipe, Anna Murphy, Dylan Trainor – under the guidance of Mr. Bob Rodrigues, who praised the students for overcoming the passage of more than half a century to complete their research. Biographies of several honorees are detailed in the memorial ceremony's program.
World War II soldiers memorialized on the new plaque include John Farenzena, John Ferris, Joseph Gurecky, John Howard, Joseph Kasprzak, Robert Kovacevich, Raymond Kramer, Arthur Langer, Andrew Lira, Stanley Lublinsky, Thomas Aston, Victor Berardi, Samuel Allender, Harold Armstrong, Louis Baldini, Robert Bogdewiecz, Alexander Asti, Louis McCool, James McCracken, James Michaels, Ronald Simpson, Karl Schmidhamer, Ralph Sundy, William McMillen, Edmund Mekolat, Matthew Milk, Robert Randolph, Elmer Straka, Jacob Yapel, Regis Moore, John Moutz, Andrew Orient, Steve Pawlick, and William Ridder. Special thanks to local historian Joe Oyler who identified the sacrifice made by this year's honorees.
The veterans memorial is an incredibly integrated project within in our school community. It is intended to be a very visible and lasting tribute to our veterans.
This was the fourth year in a row student have honored our veterans with a memorial project.
The project began during the summer of 2013 when Chartiers Valley custodians were cleaning the basement of the school and found a plaque with 17 names on it. The plaque was delivered to Mr. Rodrigues, who has dedicated his career to teaching the importance of our veterans in creating and sustaining the great democracy that we enjoy today. Mr. Rodrigues decided to convene a group of students to research the names on the plaque during the 2013-2014 school year.
The students felt these veterans from our school should be recognized in a much more pronounced way and proposed the idea of the memorial.
They shared the concept with students in our Applied Engineering and Technology Department who designed the memorial. Chartiers Valley students in the Auto Body Program at Parkway West Career and Technology Center restored both the plaque and the school bell. Chartiers Valley students in the Masonry Program at Parkway West Career and Technology Center built the monument.
In May 2014, the students held the first Memorial Dedication to honor veterans from the Rennerdale community who lost their lives in World War II.
The following school year, a new group of students picked up the torch and researched who from our community gave their life in the Korean War. This project was research intensive. Assisted by technology, Congressman Murphy’s office and a lot of passion, our students were able to identify those who perished in the Korean War. Then, Applied Engineering and Technology students created a plaque to honor these veterans on the Memorial.
In May 2015, the students held the second Memorial Dedication to honor veterans from our community who lost their lives in the Korean War.
The project continued last year with a third group of students who researched the veterans from our community who perished in the Vietnam War. Once again, our Applied Engineering and Technology students created a plaque that mimics the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
Another new feature in 2016 included the addition of a research kiosk that not only recognizes the sacrifice of our veterans, but transforms the memorial into a teaching took that will ensure the legacy of these veterans is integral to the fabric of what defines Chartiers Valley. Student Katy Linner revised the kiosk this year to add new photos and biographies of some soldiers. Katy also revamped the navigational methodology of the interactive display to make it easier for users to navigate.
Congratulations to all of the students who have brought this project to life at Chartiers Valley over the last four years. And, a special thank you to our veterans for their service to our country!
View more photos of this year's dedication on Flickr >>
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