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The 2014-15 Wilmington Middle School Speech Team has been selected as the IESA's One Team Award winner, as voted on by the IESA Official's Advisory Committee. The award, which is open to any IESA member school team, is designed to recognize the generosity and selflessness that is commonly on display by so many students within the Association.
"Each year, IESA member school teams sacrifice their time to make a difference away from their respective competitive arenas and this award is a way to showcase and recognize those efforts," said IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley.
Teams submitting an application are required to send media demonstrating their efforts, a recommendation from the school administration or community leader, and a team mission statement. Teams can volunteer their time within their school or out in their community.
"Not only is good citizenship necessary for a successful interscholastic activity, but it is a character trait that contributes to a student's overall success in life," " said Assistant Executive Director Julie Cochran. "The teams participating in service projects build strong team bonds and their experiences will hopefully serve as a foundation as they become the future leaders in our communities."
On December 13, 2014, 29 Wilmington Middle School speech team members participated in Wreaths Across America at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Springfield. "Most of the team members know or knew someone that has served in our military," said Lexi Orr, Speech Team President. The students placed wreaths on the graves of soldiers that did not have a wreath specifically purchased for them. Each student would place a wreath on a soldier's grave and take a minute to pause and reflect on the sacrifice this soldier made for their country. "Over and over, we could hear the team members' remark about how their family members had served in the military and they wished they could honor more heroes here " said Connie Papineau, WMS Speech Coach. In all, 5,000 wreaths were placed by various volunteers at the cemetery that day.
Wreaths Across America's mission is to Remember, Honor and Teach. The organization's message is to remember our fallen heroes, to honor those who serve, and to teach our children about the sacrifice by veterans and their families to preserve our freedom. http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org
"This event brings awareness, teaches students about the importance of civic duty, and reminds them that freedom often has a price " said Principal Adam Spicer. "It is a wonderful service project and everyone at Wilmington Middle School is grateful for the students that took the time on a cold Saturday in December to place the wreaths."
An assembly will be held at Wilmington Middle School in the fall to recognize and honor the members of the speech team.