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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Red, White, and Blue: Veterans Day Breakfast Recognizes Purple Star Distinction

On Nov. 10, the history honor society, Rho Kappa, held a Veterans Day breakfast for those who have served in our local area. Over 60 veterans were invited and registered to join Rock Ridge Oscar Mike Military Connect Club and Stone Hill’s Military Connected Student Ambassadors program to honor and bring together military children to meet one another.
Shaila Patel
Veterans share their regards and say their goodbyes as they head out of the breakfast to honor their service. “I enjoy spending time with my kids and meeting other kids and their friends with the same background in military service,” veteran Littopaul Bacas (pictured on left) said.

As the tables in the library filled with a breakfast feast, veterans flooded in to be honored for their service. 

On Nov. 10, Rho Kappa partnered with the Rock Ridge Oscar Mike Military Connect Club and the Stone Hill Military Connected Student Ambassadors program to put together a breakfast buffet for veterans. Members and volunteers joined to make this event special and honor the service given to our country. The effort to inform and connect the student body with other military children was rewarded with the Purple Star award. The Purple Star Award is given to military-welcoming schools that have shown tremendous commitment to students and their families with military connections.

Counselor Ashlee Erestain, the head of the Military Connect Club, is very involved in the military community. Erestain’s connection to the military, through family and community both growing up and now, is abundant. “[Military children] are very prideful and don’t always ask for help, so being present and visible in the community will help them feel more comfortable to approach and ask for help,” Erestain said. “That is why I got into it, and I’m very passionate about it. I saw an opportunity and I wanted to take it to help out Rock Ridge.” Erestain’s efforts to strengthen Rock Ridge’s military community of both students and parents have had a large role to play in the school’s Purple Star award.

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Rock Ridge partnered with Stone Hill’s Military Connected Student Ambassadors Program in this event to reach a larger audience and honor more veterans. Stone Hill seventh grade history teacher, Valerie Mizerak, previously served in the U.S. Army for 11 years and joined the program in hopes of becoming a Purple Star school. “I think it’s important that our military-connected students feel like they are part of the community because they do jump around so much [and] for them to know who is also military-connected so they can seek them out,” Mizerak said. “Maybe they will run into [one another] in the future at another location. [It’s] just another way of making that connection, which is important.” 

This partnership and connection to the local community invited veterans to the doorstep of Rock Ridge. The breakfast to honor the veterans’ service is a yearly event in various schools around the country. Veteran’s Day is officially celebrated at hour 11 of 11/11, revisiting the exact anniversary of the end of World War 1. Veteran Christopher Cole served in the U.S. Space Force and was welcomed to the breakfast. “For me, it’s important to recognize all of the special events that occur throughout the calendar year,” Cole said. “We [have a] very diverse culture here, especially in Loudoun County. We recognize some of our other cultural uniqueness like Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Diwali. So, Veteran’s Day is another special event that recognizes service members who have served.”

This annual Rho Kappa Veteran’s Day event brought together students, veterans, and teachers to thank veterans for their service and help military-connected students, from middle school and high school, find others they can connect with.

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About the Contributors
Shaila Patel, Website Coordinator
Shaila Patel is a senior in her second year on the newspaper staff, fueled by her strong sense of curiosity. Since a young age, Patel has been aiding people close to her. Whether it be through PEER or through daily actions, she is passionate about helping strangers, close friends, and family who are struggling in any way, but especially with any mental health concerns. Caring is a big part of who she is. Patel is also an avid dancer. She believes that dance is a form of art, especially the Indian classical dance she practices, Bharatanatyam. Patel sees it as a useful tool for many to convey stories, culture, who people are, and more. 
Riya Cherukuri, Staff Writer
Riya Cherukuri is a sophomore and a first year staffer on The Blaze. In her free time, Cherukuri enjoys baking desserts. Cherukuri also spends her time playing softball for Rock Ridge. She was motivated to play because her brother played baseball, so being on the field felt just right. Cherukuri hopes to continue playing in college.
Azciel Goodhart, Staff Writer
Azciel Goodhart is a sophomore and this is their first year on staff. In their free time, they enjoy swimming, knitting, and crocheting. They found their love for crocheting in 5th grade when they wanted to create a baby blanket for their teacher. Goodhart participates in the crew and swim team at Rock Ridge, as well as the philosophy club. They also hope to continue their love for chorus through Rockapella. One piece of advice that they carry with them is “one more.” They began to hear it in swim and crew, and they use it day to day to help motivate them to keep pushing.

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