As they do each year, late last month Key Peninsula Lions Club members presented an American flag to every third-grader on the Key.
Lion Frank Grubaugh, serving as moderator, gave the students a background briefing on the flag’s history while other Lions handed each child a flag and explanatory literature enabling them to understand, among other things, which of the 50 stars represented which states.
“I can’t wait to show my dad the new facts I learned about the flag,” said Vaughn Elementary third-grader Corey Simpkins, whose classmate, Jackson Knight, thought, “This is so cool!!”
Added Jade Rampino, “I feel so patriotic!”
Their teacher, Jennifer Payne, explained, “My students were so excited to share the new information they learned about the flag with their families.”
To Lion Dan Van Antwerp, “It was a joy to watch their eyes reflect a new understanding of the Pledge of Allegiance, then watch as they waved their new flags. I felt they’d have a better depth of understanding when they recited their pledge the following day.”
The project for the day began at 10 a.m. at Evergreen Elementary with Grubaugh, Van Antwerp, and his wife, Jill, and my camera. Just before noon, we four were joined by Lion Jeremiah Saucier at Vaughn Elementary for our second presentation.
“When the kids were asked questions about the flag, I was impressed with all of their quick and accurate answers,” Saucier said.
At Minter Creek Elementary at 2 p.m., we were joined by Lions Neal Van der Voorn, Curt Scott and Frank Grubaugh’s wife, Linda. My camera and I had to miss the activity to rush to the ER at St. Anthony Hospital where my wife, Janice, was being cared for after a nasty fall while shopping in Key Center. Fortunately, she is in full recovery.
“This was my first time giving out flags,” Scott said. “The moment was truly moving. I gave the kids President Kennedy’s famous statement, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,’ adding that he was talking about helping one another and that that’s why there are Lions Clubs. Doing things for others is important to our society, our communities and our country. I think the kids really understood.”
“I always get a thrill passing out flags; the kids are so enthusiastic!” said Van der Voorn, who is also a Communities In Schools reading mentor of two third-graders at Minter. “The following Tuesday they both told me how happy they are I gave them the flags. They had already forgotten that the Lions were the donors, but they remembered the flags.”
Nonetheless, Minter teacher Alice Kinerk’s third-grade student Hope Baker, reported, “The third-graders got flags from the Lions Club. The flag they gave us tells me how many states there are. It makes me feel proud that the North won against the South.”
Next month, KP Lions will present all KP eighth-graders their own personal copies of the Constitution of the United States and related materials.
Want to participate? Call 253-884-3319.
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at email@example.com.