Ol’ Glory returns to Voc-Tech

Westfield Vocational-Technical High School students, left-right, Connor Hebda, Nelson Rogue, Tyler French, Matt Wood and Luis Santos, hold a new American flag that was donated to the school by State Sen. Michael Knapik, left. Joining in the flag presentation ceremony are, Kevin Daley, second from right, assistant principal, and Stefan Czaporowski, school principal. Knapik donated the flag after several students noticed the gymnasium flag was misplaced during construction projects in the school. (Photo by chief photographer Frederick Gore)

WESTFIELD – The air was brisk Friday morning when Sen. Michael Knapik strolled into Westfield Vocational Technical High School to present the school with a new American flag for its gymnasium.
Around lunch time, Knapik bestowed the flag to Connor Hebda, Nelson Roque, Tyler French, Matt Wood and Luis Santos, five Tiger basketball players who were instrumental in requesting the new one.
“The kids noticed the lack of a flag during the first home game,” Principal Stefan Czaporowski said. “We’ve been undergoing a lot of construction around the school and the flag had been misplaced.”
Upon being discovered, it was apparent that the flag was unsuitable for hanging in the gym. Enter Senator Knapik, who was more than happy to issue the school another of Robert Heft’s masterpiece.
“I think it’s important,” Knapik said in a brief interview following the ceremony, “With all of the issues and challenges kids face today, the fact that respect and citizenship are still valued in this country by our young people is a fact that should be promoted at every opportunity.”
“Our kids are cognizant of the world around them and understand the importance and meaning of the flag,” said assistant principal Kevin Daley.  “It showed me that Westfield Voc still has great respect for this nation, and when they saw the condition of the flag, they pushed for a new one.”
Czaporowski said that some of the school’s carpentry students have been assigned the task of building a wooden frame for the flag, ensuring that the stars and stripes will remain safe and sound for many years to come.

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