EL MONTE – Rio Hondo Elementary students presented veterans with letters of thanks and hand-drawn posters, performed a swing-dance routine and recited poetry during a special celebratory assembly on Nov. 8.

Veterans from World War II and the Vietnam War, and veterans representing the Coast Guard, Navy, Army and Air Force gave speeches and shared their gratitude with the El Monte City School District and Rio Hondo Elementary for hosting the celebration.

“Veterans Day is a celebration of the people who protect our freedom, and it is a special day where we can show them that we appreciate them and let them know that we are proud of everything they do for us and for our country,” eighth-grader and President of Student Congress Cyrene Playas said.

The annual assembly, which has been held at Rio Hondo School for 17 years, featured student speeches, music and dance performances, and special guest speakers, including Vietnam veteran Hugh E. Crooks Jr., who spoke to students and families about the gift of freedom.

“Every day is a great day to remember our veterans,” Crooks said. “Any time you see a veteran, please, shake their hand, and tell them thank you for their service and for protecting our freedom.”

The Rio Hondo Dance Company dressed in 1940s inspired costumes and danced a swing routine to “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller. The Rio Hondo music department performed “America the Beautiful” and the “Star Spangled Banner.”

“Our Veterans Day assembly gives our students and staff members the opportunity to honor veterans,” Principal Darice Wallace said. “By hosting this special assembly, El Monte City School District hopes to show its gratitude for our veterans’ sacrifices.”

After the assembly, a luncheon was held in the library for veterans, their guests and friends.

“El Monte City School District has many members of its community who are veterans or who know a veteran, and so it is important that we honor them and thank them for their service,” Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said. “Veterans inspire our students to always strive for excellence.”


EMCSD_VETERANS1: Rio Hondo Elementary students celebrate veterans with letters of thanks during a special assembly on Nov. 8.

EMCSD_VETERANS2: Rio Hondo Elementary second-graders shake hands with veterans thank them for their service during a special assembly on Nov. 8.