Dieringer School District’s Salute to Veterans Click here for 2020 Veterans Day Essay Results
The year 1970 did not represent a patriotic high-water mark for our country. It was during this time that students were burning American flags in protest of the War in Viet Nam rather than waving those flags in support of those that had fought for our freedom. Despite the political and social turmoil that had found its way into schools across our nation, it was this very year that Dieringer Middle School Principal Ruggles Larson launched one of his greatest initiatives, the Veterans Day Speech Contest. Mr. Larson, a former U.S. Marine, believed that if students wrote or heard speeches about the incredible sacrifices veterans had made throughout our country’s history they would become more supportive of the efforts currently being made by veterans on their behalf. He was both brilliant and correct.
This November, in the program’s 50th year, the North Tapps Middle School Veterans Day Speech Contest faces a new challenge with COVID 19 and its impact on schools and communities. It is not wise to offer a speech contest in the traditional manner. Normally we recognize America’s veterans with an evening program that includes the presentation of the colors by Boy Scout Troop 501, patriotic music provided by the NTMS band and choir and, of course, speeches. Challenged to find a viable alternative, the program’s sponsor, the Dieringer Education Foundation, has chosen to offer an essay contest.
This year judges include retired teachers and Dieringer Foundation members, Terry Steiner and Lorrie Nelly as well as former NTMS Principal, Pat Keaton. They will be reading the essay entries submitted by North Tapps students ahead of the November 2nd deadline. First, second and third place finishers in each of the three grade levels, (sixth, seventh and eighth) will be eligible to win a cash prize provided by the Dieringer Education Foundation.
Even though the format has been altered in the program’s 50th year, we are still proud that Dieringer students are willing to give their time to recognize those who serve our country. Thanks to Mr. Larson this colorful and unique tradition is one that our district can continue to proudly call its own for a half century.