News and Events
Fridley Middle School held its annual Veteran’s Day Program on November 8, 2017. The program, now in its 31st year, is held to honor and pay tribute to United States military veterans. It is meant to help students understand and respect the dedication and sacrifice of military service members.
Veterans from the community, including members of the Fridley American Legion and Fridley Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 363, were present and received recognition. Minnesota Honor Guard began and closed the ceremony with the Presentation of Colors. The Fridley High School Concert Choir, Fridley Middle School 8th Grade Choir and 8th Grade Band, performed traditional military songs during the event.
“This has been a tradition at Fridley Middle School for many years,” Principal Amy Cochran said. “I think it’s a fantastic way for our students to honor veterans.”
Cochran added that the event is special to her because she comes from a family of veterans. “My dad, my brother and my daughter’s father are all veterans, so it’s really near and dear to my heart,” she said.
Prior to the event, students at Fridley Middle School learn about the significance and history of Veteran’s Day in class.
“We spend time talking about veterans, what Veteran’s Day means in our country. We do some background work with what Veteran’s Day is first, and I think that really shows through the program,” Cochran said.
The program featured three 8th grade student speakers who talked about their experiences and relationships with veterans in their lives.
Tim Yocum shared the experience of his neighbor and World War II veteran Delaine Hovey, who was drafted to the United States Army and served for two years from 1944-1946. Hovey also received special military police training in Trinidad.
Vanessa Lor spoke about her grandfather, Neo Chee Xiong, who was drafted in the Laos Army in 1965 for the Vietnam War. He was part of the Royal Laos Army group and helped families in Laos escape from the Vietnamese.
Christina Hoglund shared the story of her uncle, Todd Luken, who enlisted in the United States Army at age 17. After basic and specialized training, he was deployed to Iraq for 18 months. He was a chaplain who led church services and helped others with Bible studies and counseling.
Fridley Middle School welcomed back former principal and current Spring Lake Park High School principal Matthew Boucher as the keynote speaker. Boucher is a veteran of the Army National Guard, serving as an infantryman and a MTSO for 12 years. While principal of Fridley Middle School, he assisted with the Veteran’s Day Program for many years.
Fridley American Legion Commander Kevin Tikkanen said he and his group have been attending the program for many years.
“This program really means a lot to us,” Tikkanen said. “We are always very impressed by the students here.”
He added that the group is glad to contribute to the Fridley schools and invest in students, as Children & Youth is one of the four pillars that the American Legion is founded on.
“We like to give out scholarships and donate to the schools,” Tikkanen said. “We try to do that so we can have these young kids in our community grow up and love their country, and hopefully won’t have to fight for it. They can enjoy their lives and grow up as kids.”