The Blair community expressed gratitude to alumni, faculty and staff members who served or are currently serving in the U.S. military with several happenings surrounding Veteran’s Day. Organized by the sophomores in Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto ’97’s Blair LEADS class and the advancement office, the activities highlighted the many sacrifices military men and women make as they serve our country and gave everyone at Blair a chance to say thank you.
Veteran’s Day remembrances began the week before the holiday with the annual card-writing campaign held in the Romano Dining Hall. During lunchtime, students, teachers and staff members flocked to the table manned by Director of Annual Giving Colleen Smarth, Assistant Director of Annual Giving Anna Matthews and Advancement Student Ambassadors to write personal notes of thanks to nearly 400 Blair veterans and active-duty service members. The cards featured a photo from the Blair archives, chosen by Mrs. Smarth, Ms. Matthews and Blair’s coordinator of health education Erin Fortunato, who helped establish the card-writing tradition several years ago. The image depicts the 1914-1915 Blair Battalion, a group of students who were training to fight in World War I.
On November 11, the Veteran’s Day commemoration culminated during a School Meeting assembly. Sophomore LEADS students coordinated the event, which included remarks by MAJ Joshua Jabin, a 2001 U.S. Naval Academy graduate who has served 19 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. MAJ Jabin is currently chief operating officer of the Travis Manion Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports veterans and families of the fallen.
During the assembly, LEADS students honored Blair community members who are former or current members of the U.S. military by reading their biographies and thanking them for their service to the country. Those recognized included Associate Dean of Admission Teddy Wenner ’96 and his wife, LTC Teresa Wenner (both Army), Dean of Teaching & Learning Caren Standfast ’95 (Marine Corps), Assistant Director of Athletics Brian Antonelli ’93 (Marine Corps), technology teacher Michael Garrant (Army), and math teachers David Naysmith (Army) and Rob Anthony (Army Reserve).
A flag-raising ceremony outside Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts, accompanied by Sadie Donnelly ’22 and Samantha Antonelli ’22 singing the National Anthem, concluded the assembly. Afterward, students joined MAJ Jabin and Blair’s veterans for lunch in the Romano Dining Hall.