Americanism winners, Putnam Elementary School fifth grade students pictured with program participants, left to right: Post #13 Sergeant-at-Arms Victor Kratz; Linda Colangelo; Commander Ronald P. Coderre; Program Coordinator Albert Cormier; teacher Curt Prochowski; and National Americanism Chairman Richard W. Anderson. On left: Anderson presented recognition and appreciation plaques to Coderre and Putnam Elementary School Principal Cathryn Colavecchio.Courtesy photos.

PUTNAM — The day after The American Legion celebrated the 99th birthday of the founding of its organization, Post #13 of Putnam joined with the fifth-grade students and teachers of Putnam Elementary School in recognizing the conclusion of a six-week Americanism program.
The recognition program, which was held in the school auditorium March 16, honored the students for their dedication throughout the six sessions.  The program was led by 5th grade teacher and Post #13 member Curt Prochowski.  The program covered the topics of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service.  More than 90 fifth-grade students took part in the program.
Two students, Kyle Remillard and McKenna Williams, were the medal winners for their outstanding contributions during the program.  They received a special medallion and certificate from Post #13 and a framed certificate from American Legion National.  Other students receiving Certificates of Appreciation included Evan Mailloux, Jacob Olson, Lucas Benoit, Deven Lamothe, Gabriel Fuentes, Isabel Porter, Madison Lamothe, Jenna Simas, Ava Morrison and Lilah Moran.
Richard W. Anderson, National Americanism chairman, spoke about the three R’s, Responsibility, Respect and Remembrance.  He also gave a brief history of the significance of Taps in the military.
“As students and future leaders of our communities and country it’s important to always keep the three R’s in mind in all that we do.  Individuals who live by the three R’s will be successful in whatever endeavor they embark on in the future,” said Anderson.
Upon closing his remarks he presented Elementary School Principal Cathryn Colavecchio and Post #13 Commander Ronald P. Coderre plaques of recognition and appreciation signed by him and American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan.  The students presented Anderson with a piece of art drawn by student Isabel Porter. Anderson promised the students that their gift would be on display at the American Legion national headquarters in Indianapolis when he attends an Americanism meeting next week.  He also presented each student with an American flag to be worn on a lapel or collar.
The program started and ended with the presentation and retirement of the colors by Post #13 Color Guard and Vietnam veterans Alan Joslin and Charlie Leach.  The invocation and benediction were delivered by Post #13 member and Children and Youth chairman Albert Cormier. 
The National Anthem was sung by Putnam High School junior Kia Fontaine and Taps was rendered by senior Cecilio Berrios.  Post #13 Sergeant-at-Arms Victor J. Kratz led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and a special POW/MIA ceremony.
Noted Putnam vocalist Linda Colangelo graced the audience with a moving tribute to the five branches of the military, as she regaled those present singing the songs of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.  She also performed a stirring rendition of “God Bless the USA.”
“American Legion Post #13 is proud to partner with the Putnam Elementary School on this very important program.  It’s part of our service to our community and its young people.  This program is a model for other such programs throughout our great country,” said Coderre.
The recognition ceremony was coordinated Post member Albert Cormier.

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