Southwick students raise more than $3,000 for Wreaths Across America

A group of children from the Civil Air Patrol hold ceremonial wreathes that were placed at the base of the Veterans’ Memorial stone at Stanley Park during a Wreaths Across America ceremony in 2013. (File Photo)

SOUTHWICK- Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District Superintendent Jennifer C. Willard announced  Dec. 10 that students from the Powder Mill School and Southwick Regional School raised more than $3,000 for Wreaths Across America.

Willard said that the amount of money raised through various fundraisers is enough to purchase more than 200 wreaths to be laid on graves in the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Agawam on Dec. 14 as part of Wreaths Across America Day.

Willard said student Clare Hanna was one of the students who spearheaded the project near the beginning of the year. The School Committee was first given the proposal to get students involved in a meeting in September. 

“Through the power of one of our students with an idea, taking the time to learn about the process and go through it, and I am really proud of her,” said Willard.

Wreaths Across America (WAA) is an organization that gets volunteers to help lay wreaths on the graves of veterans during the holiday season.

Southwick Regional School Assistant Principal Michael Pescitelli has previously been involved in WAA, and was the one who first brought the proposal to the School Committee. 

Their main vision is really just to be able to pay respect and honor our veterans and also honor those who laid their lives for our country.” said Pescitelli in September. “The followup item to that, the piece that is the most important thing is around education. Not just for the whole entire country but our youth.”

WAA lays wreaths that day at more than 1,600 locations across the country. It began in 1992 when the owner of Worcester Wreath Company, Morrill Worcestor, had a surplus of wreaths as the holiday season began drawing to a close. He decided to take those wreaths and deliver them to Arlington National Cemetery and have them placed on graves in the older part of the cemetery that doesn’t get many visitors.

On Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday, the students who were involved in the fundraising will attend the ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.

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