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Remembrance Wreath Project
Kyle Ladd
Tuesday, December 08, 2020

The Remembrance Wreath Project at Shelbyville High School has become an annual tradition for our students, staff, and participating community members.  This year, Kelli Black’s horticulture students manufactured 229 homemade evergreen wreaths for veterans!  Special thanks to No Bad Days Farm and the Schwengel Family for their generous donation of live foliage.

Also deserving of high praise and recognition is the Glenwood Cemetery sexton, Drake Martz.  After we compile all of the nominations for veteran wreaths, Drake and his staff take the time to produce a plotted map of the entire cemetery.  Of note, Glenwood Cemetery is currently raising funds for a new entrance sign.  If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, feel free to reach out to Shelbyville City Hall (217-774-5531).

This year, the entire senior class took part in this patriotic experience.  After receiving the introductory information, all students were provided with hot chocolate courtesy of Mr. Tynan.  They then proceeded to the cemetery wherein student groupings used geospatial skills to identify and place remembrance wreaths on the gravesites of specific veterans.  In addition, select students worked toward completing ongoing grave restoration efforts.  The capstone of this unique student experience was a guided tour highlighting local history.  The prevailing theme and message of the tour was centered upon the significant impact a person can have within a small town.

In addition to the senior level students, Mr. Aberle took his sophomore history courses out to the cemetery.  The students received a personalized history tour, and they participated in a Civil War scavenger hunt.  Listed below are a few interesting facts put together by Mr. Aberle and his students: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EfpeH3D8BoSlP_J1Pl_waJTFNnXsW7ZlU58mggXpenQ/edit?usp=sharing

The Remembrance Wreath Project has been featured on WEIU, WAND, and within multiple area newspapers in year’s past.  Beyond being a unique learning experience, it often offers much more to those involved.  Honoring and respecting veterans is at the heart of this project, but the therapeutic impact provided is often an underappreciated element within the overall experience. 
Often, we witness students visiting the gravesites of grandparents, parents, relatives, personal acquaintances, and occasionally classmates.  They take the time, and it is always a touching tribute.

Altogether, the Remembrance Wreath Project gives our educators an opportunity to tell the story of Shelbyville, and the people who lived within this wonderful town.  But, perhaps of greater importance, the experience allows for our student population to have a mature conversation about the concepts associated with death and dying.  In addition to the stories told, we often learn of the personalized story of each individual student and their family.  For that, we remain forever thankful.