PIQUA — Patriotism meets technology at Piqua High School, where a new interactive touchscreen database honors alumni who are military veterans, as well as those currently enlisted in the Armed Forces.
Recently installed in the school’s lobby outside the administrative offices, the Wall of Honor is one of the first things visitors to the school will see upon entering the building. The display grew out of talks about improvements that needed to be made at PHS, according to Principal Rob Messick.
“We had (recognition for) valedictorians and salutatorians, but I wanted to recognize some other people,” Messick said. “We wanted to recognize veterans from PHS, especially because nowadays a lot of kids are going into the military and doing some great things.”
He added that the Wall of Honor — which showcases service members from 1944 to the present — plays well into the district’s participation in the Ohio Department of Education’s Success Bound strategy, which presents the military “as a viable career,” Messick noted.
With the seed of an idea planted, Messick was challenged with how to make the idea bear fruit. He found the answer during a visit to Bangor, Maine, where his son is in the Coast Guard.
“I saw a display there, where they had video screens — touchscreens, and I wanted to do something similar,” Messick said. “So we started seeking donations and wrote some grants.”
Funds poured in from private donors, service organizations like the American Legion and VFW posts, PHS graduating classes, among others — totaling approximately $18,000 to finance the project, which, in addition to the touchscreen designed by TouchPros, features a three-dimensional background by Quint Creative Signs with stars and stripes, and three soldiers in silhouette.
Currently, about 50 past and present service members are registered in the database, and Messick encourages others to sign up. “We want to visit some of the service organizations for the vets to register,” he said. “We’re hoping we can get a big push to get get people in here.”
To register online, visit piqua.org and click “Select A School.” After choosing “Piqua High School,” select “Veterans Wall Registration” from the list on the left side of the page, and fill out the form. Information includes name, year of graduation, branch of service, rank and a brief description of military services/accomplishments. Additionally, up to three photos of a military nature can be submitted.
Families of deceased soldiers are welcome to submit their loved ones’ information, Messick said.
In addition, there will be an open house from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Veterans Day for those who wish to register.
“I’m very excited about this; it looks so good. It was just something that was missing,” Messick said. “Everything just kind of came together and it all worked out.”
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3341