Superintendent's Corner: Local Veterans Welcomed Back on Campuses


Students and staff have been so excited this fall with the ability to run all-school assemblies again. There is nothing quite like a packed gymnasium full of enthusiastic students and staff.

This week all of our schools will engage in some form of celebration in honor of Veterans Day.

At our schools there will be many different types of activities designed to show our respect for our veterans.

In addition to traditional assemblies featuring music associated with each branch of service, our students will engage with veterans as guest speakers in classes, lunch companions and mentors. At Yelm High School, our students will also get to tour military vehicles on campus, possibly including a Black Hawk helicopter.

Our local veterans are also outstanding volunteers in our schools. We are seeing the return of a volunteer program called “Watch D.O.G.S.” (dads of great students) at our schools. This program has a high percentage of military-connected family members participating. The main purpose of Watch D.O.G.S. is to support schools with supervision and to support the various programs in place. Our Watch D.O.G.S. program has also resulted in increases in participation in clubs and afterschool opportunities for students. Approximately one in five students is military-connected in our district.

Local offices of the Marines, Air Force, and the National Guard are members of our Graduate Yelm! Partner Network and volunteer for significant school activities such as freshmen interviews and the financial reality fair. Many of our Graduate Yelm! partners also include veteran-owned businesses here in town. Our local VFW is an incredible partner that helps deliver our Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts to schools.

The presence of military-connected families in our district has also led to amazing funding opportunities in schools. Yelm Community Schools has received numerous Department of Defense Education Activity grants since 2015. These large grants have funded STEM education in our district, STEMkamp, math instruction and supportive technology, AVID, and also has helped the district provide a chromebook for every student.

We are incredibly thankful for the military and veteran presence in Yelm. Not only are our veterans being recognized for serving our country, but they provide significant service to our schools.


Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools.


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