Polk County Middle celebrates Military Day

As Veteran’s Day approached, students and faculty at Polk County Middle School spent a day celebrating and learning more about the nation’s military.

Sixth grade core classes and most wheel classes arrived at school Nov. 9 to take part in Military Day, a day-long focus on the armed forces organized by English Language Arts teacher Julie Miller.

Miller has spent the past six years training and participating in the Medal of Honor Character Development Program. Developed by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the program helps educators teach the six core values of the Medal of Honor – courage, integrity, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship and patriotism – to students.

Thanks to a Slater Excellence in Teaching Award from the Polk County Community Foundation, Miller spent four days earlier this month traveling to New Orleans to attend the Medal of Honor Convention at The National World War II Museum. She spent the four days interacting with some 40 Medal of Honor recipients, hearing stories that she brought back to share with students and staff.

“My New Orleans trip took me back in time, to learn from the artifacts and WW2 displays and interactive stories from the museum,” Miller said. “To be able to hear stories of the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Woody Williams, from his grandson Chad was invaluable.

“To hear about Vietnam and the courage and resilience it took for Jim McCloughan, Sammy Davis, Bob Patterson and Doc Ballard, to endure the conflict and how important their life experiences can benefit others is life-changing. Seeing Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter dressed as ObiWan Kenobi on Halloween, or Kyle Carpenter sign a Medal of Honor book for a Gold Star family member is one I will never forget.”

Military Day at PCMS kicked off with a VFW flag corps greeting sixth graders as they entered their hall. Throughout the day, sixth grade and wheel teachers brought military themes into their instruction – math teachers taught grids, coordinates and used conflict data for word problems, while ELA classes researched Core Value Vocabulary and made real-life connections. STEM classes learned about the Manhattan Project and role of women in the nuclear program in Oak Ridge, Tenn. while choral students rehearsed patriotic songs. CTE classes researched the pros and cons of a career in the military.

Even physical education classes joined in, holding a “boot camp” day that incorporated inflatable bounce courses.

“The sixth grade staff and PCMS administration supported this project with the dedication and creativity that truly honored education, our nation’s heroes and every veteran in our Polk community,” Miller said.

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