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RCS salutes veterans

Russellville Middle School and Russellville High School joined forces this year to put on the Veterans Day Salute Nov. 9.

“It is an honor for our system to host this program each year. We pass the responsibility between the schools each year so that we each get a chance to take a leadership role in this very special event,” instructor Emily Rush said.

Superintendent Heath Grimes welcomed everyone, and the RHS JROTC performed the posting of colors.

“I believe that our school system as a whole has a great pride and respect for the veterans here in our community,” Rush said.

Senior Class President Kyleigh Montgomery and RMS Student Council President Hannah Figueroa led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Patrick Crummie, McKinley Copeland, Addie Scruggs and Elizabeth Pierce performed the National Anthem. The Performing Arts Classes from RMS and RHS performed the songs “Soldier” and “God Bless the USA.” Students from the RHS Drama Department delivered the Presidential Veterans Day Address.

“The students do a great job preparing for the program. It is a great time to teach them about our freedoms and about giving back to our community,” Rush said. “When we work on this program, I tell them that all the other shows we do are for us, but this one this is for our veterans and that this is something special they get to do. I was very proud of how my students performed on stage.”

This year’s guest speaker was Lt Col. Mitchell R. Spillers Jr., an alumnus of RCS who is retired from the United States Air Force.

“I do believe that they enjoyed hearing from an alumnus – someone that has sat in those same seats as them and grown up in the same community,” Rush said.

Spillers shared some lessons he has learned through his time serving in the Air Force like “I’d rather be lucky than good” and “if you know the basics, the hard stuff is easy.” He also shared some stories and anecdotes along the way that guests and students enjoyed.

“I was most impressed with our student body and their attention to the program. I had several comment to me about how respectful they were, and I think there is no greater compliment,” Rush said.

At the end of the program, the Armed Forces Salute was played, and veterans in the audience were recognized. Band director Jeremy Willis closed out the program with taps.