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Often called the “roar of freedom” by service members, the sounds of military aircraft, an ever present background noise of any Air Force base was the perfect backdrop at Tinker K-8 School on MacDill Air Force Base where the population of the school nearly doubled with guests for their Veteran’s Day program. Charter Communication who provides Spectrum cable television and internet services in 18 Florida counties with approximately 2.3 million customers, took the opportunity to make a generous donation of $1,000 to the district’s JROTC program.
“Today is a compliment to American Education Week and the Great American Teach-In, as well as Spectrum partnering with the History Channel on Take a Vet To School Day,” said Drew Gillian, Director of Government & Public Relations for Charter Communications, who presented the donation to Retired Army Col. Samuel T. Taylor III, the Director of Army Instruction for HCPS.
Gillian said 12 to 13 percent of the Charter Communication staff are veterans. “Kids and education are important to us and we want to be a good model for them,” he said. “Education changes kids’ lives forever. Hopefully we can do this again.”
Taylor said the funds will be used to recognize the best of the best during the Hillsborough County Cadet of the Year award. The initial field includes the nearly 5,000 cadets countywide. “What we haven’t been able to do in the past is to recognize all 10 finalists to the extent that they deserve.”
Judge Michael J. Scionti from the 13th Circuit Court of Hillsborough County, who also serves in the reserve as a military lawyer, spoke to the students about his start as a product of Hillsborough County Public Schools, and his interaction with students and their families in his courtroom.
“Continue to set your star high in the sky and follow your passion where it leads you,” Scionti said. “You will accomplish whatever you set your heart to, but the key is education.”
Retired Air Force Colonel Peter Mooy, married to Tinker K-8 Principal Nancy Mooy, spoke of four lessons he learned before the eighth grade that served him well in his military career. “Math, get good at writing, learn how to speak correctly and the importance of making friends as the strength of a team can be much greater than just the sum of their members,” Col. Mooy shared with possibly the next generation of service members.
A gasp rolled over the student body when Principal Nancy Mooy announced that this would be her last time presiding over the Veteran’s Day performance as principal. She would be retiring after 30 years of teaching children all over the globe.
Principal Mooy was then announced as this year’s honoree to receive the ceremonial flag following the ceremony by the Navy Operational Support Center Honor Guard. She tearfully addressed her school from the podium once more after the moving flag presentation ceremony.
“The biggest pleasure of my life has been serving as your principal for the last six years,” she told her students. She then let her students know that she hoped they would remember to invite her back next year as their special guest.View Full Album