Number of Participants: 1
Hours Donated: 25
Value of Time Served: $211
Event Type: Veterans & Military Families
Date: November 13, 2020
Garden City High School unveiled its inaugural Field of Flags on Nov. 13, thanks to the efforts of students, staff and community members. The initiative brought rows of 200 American Flags to the grounds outside the building at the corner of Rockaway Avenue and Merillon Avenue as a tribute to first responders and garnered a $2,000 donation to Operation Gratitude. It kicked off right after Veterans Day and the flags will fly until Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Dec. 7.
Junior Caterina Kephart, president of the Students Helping Students organization, introduced the idea and facilitated the project with support from Guidance Counselor Karen Whiston and peers. Members of the community provided monetary donations in exchange for flag dedications to members of the military, medical first responders, police officers and firefighters. A ribbon was affixed to each flag acknowledging its honoree.
A small ceremony attended by district and building administrators, school staff, members of the Garden City Fire Department and Police Department and Students Helping Students participants commemorated the Field of Flags and acknowledged those involved. The event was held outside and social distancing and mask protocols were followed. Junior Tyler Glenn played “Taps” and Caterina and Ms. Whiston described the endeavor and its behind-the-scenes steps.
Caterina had seen similar displays in other communities and wanted to broaden the reach to pay homage to more heroes while bringing Garden City residents together. Custodial staff members spent an evening assembling all the flags using supplies donated from C&L Plumbing of Lynbrook and RC Supply of Freeport. Hempstead Ford also made generous contributions, and many other individuals in and outside the district were of assistance in making the effort a success. “I am thankful for the day to day work and efforts put forth by our military, our law enforcement, our firefighters, and our medical first responders whose efforts help make our country so great and without these heroes we would not have been able to combat the virus those first few months,” Caterina said. “I wanted them all to know that we are behind them and support them as they support us and serve us each and every day and as those before us did to provide us the opportunities we now have today.”
The high school gave $2,000 of collected funds to Operation Gratitude, which works to ensure all first responders and military are not forgotten and never feel underappreciated. The district hopes to make this a recurring charitable event that will pay homage to even more heroes in future years.
1: A small ceremony attended by district and building administrators, school staff, members of the Garden City Fire Department and Police Department and students celebrated the Field of Flags.
2: (From left) Guidance Counselor Karen Whiston, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kusum Sinha, junior Caterina Kephart and Garden City High School Principal Kevin Steingruebner.
3: A Field of Flags at Garden City High School honored heroes and raised funds for Operation Gratitude.
4: The Field of Flags project was spearheaded by Caterina Kephart and the Students Helping Students organization.
Photos Courtesy of Garden City Public Schools