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Lower School Learns About Service at Veterans Day Assembly


A grid of photos from the Veterans Day assembly

Clockwise from top: Ravenscroft parent and retired Air Force officer Mike El Mann talks about his experiences serving in the military as students, many wearing paper hats expressing appreciation to veterans, look on; members of the Raving Ravens sing; the Lower School String Orchestra performs.

On Friday, Nov. 10, the Lower School community marked Veterans Day with a special assembly that explored what it means to lead and serve and recognized family members who have done so in each of the U.S. military’s branches.

Students were an important part of the program. Jack Harbert ’31 and Mimi Nelson ’32 presented the flags, and sisters Emmie ’33 and Ellis ’34 El Mann led the Pledge of Allegiance. The Lower School String Orchestra then performed a special song, “Airborne Heroes.”

Next, Head of Lower School Jen Baccus welcomed all of the guests and introduced the event’s featured speaker, Lt. Colonel Mike El Mann, United States Air Force (retired), who is Emmie and Ellis’s father. As El Man talked about the extensive training he went through to prepare him to fly military aircraft — earning exclamations of surprise and admiration from Lower Schoolers seated around him — he reminded students about how important it is for them to set goals and work hard to realize them. 

Baccus then asked all veterans in attendance to stand, if they were able, as she recognized the United States Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The Raving Ravens chorus then performed “Proud of Our Veterans,” and Baccus and her father, Capt. Arthur Strunk, who served in the Navy for 23 years, said a closing prayer for all veterans.

The event was a special one for veterans and their family members alike.

“As I’ve retired after 21 years of service, it was a special moment to showcase an example of my military service to my children and their school friends this past Veterans Day,” El Man said of his participation in the event. “My favorite moment was standing together facing the flag and pledging ourselves to the ideals it represents. As someone who has sworn an oath to defend our ideals multiple times — the oath is reaffirmed with every change of rank — moments like these always warm my heart. Ravenscroft’s hosting of this event speaks volumes about the values that make it a great school: community and service to others.”

“It was a true joy to host veterans who are connected to our Lower School community and have the opportunity to thank them for their service. Lt. Col. El Mann helped our Lower School students make connections to how the Lead From Here competencies they are learning to use are used every day by the women and men who serve in our Armed Forces,” Baccus said of the event. “In addition, our Raving Ravens and Lower School String Orchestra performed two inspiring pieces for our honored guests. A highlight for me was getting to say a prayer for our veterans with my dad.”