Recognition Wall at GHS honors Veterans

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Alyx DeReu, administrative assistant at Geneseo High School; and Travis Mackey, GHS principal, stand in front of the Veterans and Active Military Wall, at Geneseo High School. Photo by Claudia Loucks

Any veteran who would like to see the wall display is asked to call the GHS office at 309-945-0399, to schedule a visit. Any GHS alumni who would like to be included is asked to visit for more information.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much for young and old alike, including the manner in which Veterans Day was observed this year at Geneseo High School.

‘Through the years students and staff at GHS have observed Veterans Day in different ways, from all-school assemblies with veterans as speakers to providing a breakfast for area veterans at the high school…Those in-person observances were not possible in the midst of the current pandemic, but what was possible is the addition of a permanent wall display to honor veterans and active military.

GHS Principal Travis Mackey said, “We knew we would not be able to have our normal celebration with serving breakfast with area veterans as our guests. Dr. (Adam) Brumbaugh, (Geneseo Superintendent of Schools), shared that one school had done a recognition wall to honor veterans and we felt that would be a great and meaningful way to remember our veterans and active military members.”

Research was done on different types of recognition walls and Mackey said an interactive program was found that would work for what they were planning…. “The company designed a recognition wall in patriotic colors that is now a permanent display in the library lobby at the south end of the building,” he said.

The red, white and blue vinyl wall covering is 20 ft. in length and extends from floor to ceiling. In front of the wall is a kiosk with a touch screen that allows for a person to find a specific veteran or someone active in the military who graduated from GHS or a school district staff member…Mackey said, “Our students like the idea of being able to see a photo of a staff member on the screen and read about their military service as well as see them in the classroom.”

“You are able to find the person by using the last name, branch of service or year they graduated from GHS or you can view all of them and a thumb nail print is visible that allows you to click on and find out more about that person. It provides their military information, honors, medals, rank, branch of service, where they were or are stationed and the year they graduated,” he said.

The wall also features the emblems of the five branches of military service – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.

“This wall is not only a tribute to our veterans, but it also ties into our curriculum so that our students can come to know and understand more about the service of the veterans who are graduates of Geneseo High School, and their military assignments,” Mackey said. “With this program we are able to recognize the veterans who are alive and also those who have passed away.”

“Some of our students who are planning to go into military service have watched the slide show and commented that they have learned more information and that it was exciting to see the people who graduated from Geneseo and have gone into the military and the honors they have earned.”

Alyx DeReu, administrative assistant at GHS, assisted Mackey with the project by collecting information and photos of area veterans, both alive and deceased.

The wall project was made possible through a donation from Springfield Armory in Geneseo and Mackey said, “Denny Reese and Springfield Armory are long-time contributors to the Geneseo School District and this Veterans Wall is one more example of their generosity.”