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Black Hawk helicopter lands at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights at part of Veterans Day tribute

Pioneer Press Newspapers - 11/15/2023

Nov. 14—Just after a crowd gathered at John Hersey High School for breakfast and a ceremony paying tribute to the nation's service men and women for Veterans Day, a Black Hawk helicopter landed at the school, offering students and others a chance to tour the powerful utility military air craft.

The days events also included a showing of other military equipment and an Army STEM lab.

Township High School District 214 officials said more than 600 students, including Hersey's whole sophomore class, participated in the event. A Veterans Day ceremony and activities were also held at Elk Grove High School. Both schools are part of the Arlington Heights-based school district.

From the start of the school day until the end, a slate of activities had been planned at Hersey, including an assembly that featured remarks from Major Gen. Matthew Baker. Then came the helicopter and set up of the military science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lab.

"The state-of-the-art trucks showcase the Army's high-tech training and capabilities and put on display a wide variety of STEM-related career opportunities, ranging from engineering to medicine," SD214 stated in an email announcing the Veterans Day activities.

Patriotic music was provided by the Hersey high school band, and other guest speakers included Major Gen. Jim Mukoyama. Students also honored local veterans.

Black Hawk flight crews were made available to answer questions and talk to students. Officials said the U.S. Army Reserve's 88th Readiness Division, 85th Support Command and the Illinois Army National Guard helped plan the activities.

Additionally, SD214 David Beery told Pioneer Press that Greg Padovani, "who is a very active community member and Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights," also helped.

"We had a spectacular day. We had messages of inspiration and service. Our kids are learning from people who have given the most incredible sacrifice back to our nation. We couldn't be more grateful for their time and their service and for our kids to learn from this unique opportunity," Hersey Principal Heath McFaul told Pioneer Press in an emailed statement.


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