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Mission Statement:
Empower each individual to make responsible choices, meet challenges, achieve personal success, and contribute to a global society.

March 30, 2017

Special program brings veterans, from World War II to Iraq,
to Niskayuna High School to share experiences with students

Picture from Patriot Flight assembly

social studies department and patriot flight organize assembly, discussions

They recalled the freezing temperatures of the winter of '44 in Europe, preparing to go to Southeast Asia in the summer of '69, and will never forget their comrades who never came home.

On Tuesday, March 28, upwards of three dozen veterans of wars dating back to World War II visited Niskayuna High School to share their experiences with the junior class.

In a panel presentation moderated by social studies teacher Stephen Eichfeld, 10 of the special guests talked about what it was like to head off to war, their greatest hardships, and the benefits of serving and what it was like to not just witness history, but to shape it.

"I'm eternally grateful that I made the decision to join the military," said Betty Clark, a first lieutenant in the Medical Corps, who cared for former senator Bob Dole, among many others, during World War II.

The program was organized by the High School Social Studies Department with Patriot Flight Inc., an Albany-based organization works to give veterans the opportunity to visit the monuments that have been established in their honor, including bringing World War II veterans to Washington, D.C.

picture from Patriot Flight assembly  picture from Patriot Flight assembly 

Scroll down for a video about the Patriot Flight Program and more photos.

The veterans also spoke about the realities of war and what they experienced.
Bill Leunig, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, shared a story about his company being stopped by a man outside a cottage and being introduced to Jewish family that he had protected. When the Americans came through, he said it was the first time their young girl had been outside in years.

"These are some of the brave people that you hear about behind-the-scenes," Leunig said.

"War is not fun and games," said Vietnam veteran Bruce Mendini at another point in the discussion. "My best friend's name is on a wall in Washington."
picture from the Patriot Flight assembly  picture from the Patriot Flight assembly

Following the panel discussion, students had the opportunity to interact with the veterans in three smaller groups.

The Social Studies Department worked with Frank DeSorbo and Joe Savoie of Patriot Flight to plan the program. The purpose was to make direct connection with what juniors learn in their United States Government and History courses.

"I very much was a part of history," said Sergeant First Class Penny McGinnis, who served in the Gulf War and worked in military intelligence. "And, I'm very proud of it."


Video about the patriot flight program

This video about the Patriot Flight organization was shown to students as part of the March 28 assembly.

More Pictures from the March 28 Special Program with Veterans at nhs

Picture from Patriot Flight assembly

Picture from Patriot Flight assembly

Picture from Patriot Flight assembly

Picture from Patriot Flight assembly