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Norwalk's Naramake Students Donate Candy To Troops, Salute Veterans

Naramake Principal Patti Mattera and members of the PTO unveil how much candy the students donated for the troops during the candy drive. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Fourth grade students at Naramake Elementary School in Norwalk perform a musical tribute to members of the armed services during the school's Veterans Day assembly. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Diana Guaglione's second grade class performs "You're A Grand Old Flag" for the whole school. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Ramon Tejada talks about joining the Marine Corps after high school before he became a Norwalk police officer. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Mark Williams discusses how he joined the Navy after high school and later joined the National Guard. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Mike Raleigh talks about how he joined the Navy as a corpsman, who "patches everyone up when they get bumps, scrapes and bruises." Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Fred Kellogg talks about joining the Navy and Air Force before becoming a Norwalk police officer. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. – Students at Naramake Elementary School in Norwalk paid tribute to veterans Tuesday by donating candy to the troops and holding an assembly in honor of the men and women of the armed forces.

The students donated their Halloween candy and other sweets through a candy drive organized by the PTO. The students assembled in the Naramake gymnasium Tuesday were audibly shocked when the PTO leaders revealed that they had collected 168 pounds of candy, which will be sent to troops stationed overseas through Operation Shoebox.

“We’re so proud of you,” PTO Co-President Amy Antonacci told all the assembled grades. “You kids gave up all of your Halloween candy – and we know that’s a really, really hard thing to do – so that the troops around the world who are protecting us, without their families and without their friends, are going to know that you guys are thinking of them.”

In addition to sending candy to troops overseas, the students also warmly welcomed four veterans from their own community.

Ramon Tejada grew up in Norwalk and joined the Marine Corps after graduating high school, and now works as an officer for the Norwalk Police Department. Mark Williams also grew up in Norwalk and joined the Navy after graduating high school. After leaving the Navy, he came home before deciding to join the National Guard, which he retired from last October.

Mike Raleigh is a father of two Naramake students, and served five years in the Navy as a corpsman. Fred Kellogg served 21 years in the military, first in the Navy and then in the Air Force, before joining the Norwalk Police Department, where he currently serves as a student resource officer.

In addition to the candy donation and a video tribute to veterans, there were several musical performances throughout the ceremony.

Music teacher Gregory Stan led the fourth- and fifth-graders in several songs, including “This Little Light of Mine,” and Diana Guaglione’s second grade class performed “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” which they sing every morning. The entire school also joined together for renditions of the national anthem and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

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