Patriotic Concert Held In Honor Of Veterans And First Responders

By Lynne Beauchamp,

In its 28th year, Ms. Jenny VanHouten and her students at Cornerstone Elementary in Dexter held its Proud to Be concert.

The concert, which took place May 16 at Cornerstone Elementary, takes place each year to honor men and women of military service as well as those who are first responders.

This year the students sang for an audience filled with members of local fire and police departments, paramedics, military personnel past and present, as well as family and friends of the community. Songs included American ballads such as the Star Spangled Bannerto traditional military theme songs like Anchor’s Aweigh.

As is tradition of the concert, alumni of Ms. VanHouten joined in to sing Goober Peaswith the current students.

Among those in the audience was WWII US Army veteran, Ernie Sadler. Ninety eight year old Sadler said he has been a resident of Dexter since the 1940’s. Sadler served in Germany during WWII. He, along with his son-in-law, a Vietnam US Army veteran, has attended the Proud to Be concert every year for more than a decade.

Ms. Jenny VanHouten said she continues the tradition of the patriotic concert each year as part of continuing her mother’s legacy. Her mother, Sybil VanHouten, a former teacher at Cornerstone Elementary, began the Proud to Be ceremony over 28 years ago along with Sis Kanten.

“It’s tradition. It’s teaching the kids a little bit about the country they live in,” said J. VanHouten. She added that she sees a difference in the way the students recite the Pledge of Allegiance from the beginning of the year and throughout the year, possibly becoming a little bit more patriotic through the year.



Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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