“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose,” sang out sixty some fifth graders from Milliken Basics+ Elementary School, 615 Hobart Terrace, at the Central Park Veterans Memorial December 8th. They ended their short, holiday sing with “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”
“The Veterans Memorial is an honorable place where we remember a lot of people who fought for our freedom. It’s a place that we respect,” Jim Lee told the kids. Lee, who served in the National Guard, is one of the founding members of the Veterans Memorial Committee.
In what has become an annual tradition, the fifth graders walked to Central Park to place handmade, laminated paper ornaments on a holiday tree beside the Veterans Memorial. After decorating the tree, posing for a class photo and singing holiday songs, the kids enjoyed free play in the park before walking back to school with teachers Chris Preece and Pam Lombardo.
“We have a multi-cultural school, and we want students to understand this is the tradition of American culture, including doing something for the city, doing community service,” said fifth grade teacher Preece, who, with Lee, initiated the outing about seven years ago.
“It’s a great little field trip. It’s a great way to honor those in the military who have served us,” said Jen Lim, mother of ten-year-old Sydney. “It’s adorable.”
“Look at the kids–from all walks of life, everyone enjoying American holiday traditions,” said Lee. Each year, he and his wife, Marlys, provide the tree for the children to decorate.