High schools have a rich history of alumni that have gone on to serve in the military following graduation. Over the years, we have had many customers reach out asking about ways to recognize the sacrifice of these young community members. Eastwood High School of Pemberville, Ohio, is one of these recent customers.
We asked Nathan Howard, teacher and project lead at Eastwood, a few questions about the project. Below is a portion of that conversation:
What motivated you to start a military recognition wall?
Our school's Key Club is a student-led volunteer organization that serves our world, nation, community, and school. It was right around Veteran’s day last year when we were considering a legacy project for the club. We have a whole hallway dedicated to athletic records and accomplishments, but nothing to honor our students who had gone on to serve our country. It was decided that honoring our veterans would be a great way to benefit both our school and community.
What was your strategy for collecting the service member names?
Collecting names was one of the biggest challenges. We started out by sharing our ideas of the project and the information we needed (name, graduation year, and branch of service) via our superintendent's community emails.
Next, I shared one of your early designs and the idea for the project with the local newspaper, which got a big reaction. Finally, we made up postcards and sent them to every district resident advertising the project.
I expected around 300 names in the beginning; we ended up with more than 800. I received emails from Texas, Colorado, Florida, California; all over the country. Now that the board is up, we've had a few others call or email with additional names, so we will make a few adjustments to the board down the road.
What concerns did you have when starting the project?
The biggest concerns I had were the overall cost and how we would be able to update the board as needed. While the cost was a bit more than we had originally budgeted for, the result was worth it. I guess we'll see about the ease of updating the names as needed—that's still a bit of a concern for me.
Every product Team Fitz sells is designed to be easily updated. Each of the raised acrylic panels used in this project can be easily removed and replaced as additional names are added or revisions need to be made.
Did the final product meet your expectations? Is there anything you would change?
The final product was beyond our expectations. I’m not an incredibly artistic person, so it was great working with a company that could take my suggestions and turn it into a work of art.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from others now that it is displayed?
Now that the board is displayed, the reaction has been amazing. The students and staff just stop and stare. I've seen several taking pictures with their phones of their father’s and grandfather's names. The superintendent was shocked and said he had no idea it was going to look like that. It puts all the record boards and trophy cases to shame. It's the first thing a visitor to our school sees, and it has totally transformed our entryway.
Each Team Fitz Military Recognition Board is custom designed for your school, incorporating your logo and colors. Service member entries typically include name, graduating year and the military branch they are serving under. Typical boards include veterans of all branches including: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, Coast Guard and Reserves.
There are a few different styles available for these military boards. Give us a call today for more information. One of our sales representatives would be happy to speak to you about your project and discuss the options available.