Cassadaga Elementary holds final Flag Day event

CASSADAGA – No rain spoiled the Flag Day Program at Cassadaga Elementary School, though there might have been a tear or two in some eyes. This is the last program for the school. It is closing at the end of this school year.

The program included a parade down Maple Avenue, a flag-raising ceremony outside the school, and a program inside the school.

The community has regularly participated in school activities. This event was no exception.

color guard from the Cassadaga American Legion Post 1280 joined the children to celebrate the birthday of the American flag. A law enforcement officer blocked off traffic on Maple Avenue and a member of the Cassadaga Fire Department brought a fire truck to the parade. Residents of the community lined up along the street to watch the children. Retired teacher Carol Klawon returned in her patriotic dress to march with the students and faculty.

John Cross, band director at the middle and high school, marched playing a bass drum as a member of the Cassadaga Valley Central School jazz marchers. The small group consisted of older students, some of whom had attended Cassadaga Elementary. Those who came volunteered their time. The small group projected a large sound and seemed to enjoy their role.

Once at the school again, the students, teachers and community gathered around the flag pole for the flag raising. American Legion member Robert Connelly lowered and then raised the colors with the aid of uniformed Cub Scouts.

As he lowered the flag he said to the boys, “OK guys, let’s get ready to stop the flag.” He reminded the boys the flag should not touch the ground.

After the ceremony ended he said, “Thank you men. Good job.”

The group recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the Star Spangled Banner. Afterward, the classes and community filed into the gym to the tune of “When the saints go marching in,” played by the jazz marchers.

Second-grade teacher Trish Pecuch welcomed everyone to the program. She said Flag Day has been a “pretty big event” at Cassadaga Elementary. She said it was a wonderful opportunity to teach the children important lessons, and acknowledged the community effort to help the children learn.

Each grade presented a song. Kindergartners sang “We Love Our Flag;” first graders “This Land is Our Land; and second graders: “There are Many Flags” and the “Pledge Rap” which explained some of the difficult words in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pecuch then introduced guest speaker Sally Lawson. Lawson spent some of her teaching time at Cassadaga Elementary, retired from Cassadaga Valley Central School, and is active in the American Legion and Cub Scouting.

Lawson spoke directly to the children, giving the children a little bit of the history of the flag. She explained the symbolism of the colors: red for valor or courage, white for purity and clean living, and blue for justice or fairness

She said, “These are good qualities for our flag and they are also good qualities for people.” She told them to look for these qualities in their friends.

She said that since this was the last Flag Day at Cassadaga, they should remember their school lovingly. “Sinclairville will be your new home. School is just a building; teachers and fellow students make it a home,” she said.

The children and the audience enjoyed a video sing-a-long of patriotic songs consisting of “God Bless America,” “Grand Old Flag,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and finally standing for the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Principal Josh Gilevski then thanked everyone for the program, and said he was “privileged to be principal of the school” even though it was only for a year. He noted the community was very involved in the school.

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