GUY — Guy-Perkins students honored local veterans in a Veterans Day Celebration featuring a parade and spotlight slideshow on Friday.
Local veterans were invited to attend a luncheon at the school, which was followed by a parade that welcomed Faulkner County vets to the school’s cafeteria, where a "Honoring Heroes" slideshow put together by a handful of students highlighted vets in the area.
"We’re very pleased to have this opportunity," Superintendent Shade Gilbert said of the work Guy-Perkins students put into the event. "It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to do this for our local veterans."
Being a humble school in a small town does not keep Guy students from outpouring a collectively big heart toward those who have served this country.
"In light of all the negativity in the news, this school was able to come together and show we are a patriotic community," Gilbert said Friday following the celebration.
Elementary and high school students lined both sides of the sidewalk from the old gym to the cafeteria, leading a path for the veterans, as they smiled and displayed "Thank you" banners to their local heroes.
Danny Vaughn of Quitman, who served in the U.S. Army for 10 years, lead local vets who attended Friday’s celebration through the students’ path, playing his bagpipes all along the way.
The presentation began with FFA students posting the colors and the school’s choir singing the national anthem. From there, Vaughn stood before Guy-Perkins School District students, faculty and staff along with local veterans, playing Amazing Grace and other signatures before the slideshow spotlighting local vets commenced the ceremony.
Eighty-seven-year-old Navy veteran Thurman Jay Rhodes attended the Guy-Perkins Veterans Day Celebration on Friday.
He shared a bit of his history during the luncheon before being welcomed into the cafeteria for the students’ presentation.
Rhodes was among several hundred thousands of veterans who lied about their ages to enlist.
"I went in because I was hungry," he said. "I’ll be honest with you, I was all by myself."
His daughter, Joyce Bowers, who served in the National Guard, said her father was among many who enlisted because they were hungry.
"A lot of veterans lied about their age because they wanted to eat," she said. "They were having family signing paperwork saying they were 18 when they were only 16 and 17 years old."
While the celebration was a great way to honor local veterans, Bowers said the school project was beneficial to the students, giving them the opportunity to learn more of their family and nation’s history.
Rhodes has six great-grandchildren who attend Guy-Perkins school.
"This project gives the kids a chance to learn inadvertently about their grandparents," Bowers said of the time students spent putting together the spotlight slideshow. "Up until this program, his oldest grandchild, who is a senior, didn’t know anything about when [Rhodes] served or where he served."