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Kelly Elementary School Hosts Flags for Heroes Ceremony

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Driving along Pleasant Valley Way, onlookers will see 100 American flags flying in front of West Orange High and Kelly Elementary Schools as part of the Flags for Heroes Project, organized by the West Orange Rotary Club. From May 6 – May 31, the flags will fly proudly in recognition of leaders, community members, and veterans who have gone above and beyond to inspire and serve others. 

On May 14, Kelly Elementary School hosted a ceremony to celebrate the Flags for Heroes Project, with help from the West Orange High School AFJROTC and Kelly Fifth Grade students, choir, Sign Language Club, and Principal David Marion.

Special guests included Mayor Susan McCartney, Superintendent Hayden Moore, WOHS Principal Oscar Guerrero and Vice-Principal Dr. Lesley Chung, Town Council President Bill Rutherford, Board Vice-President Maria Vera, Buildings and Grounds Director Michael Cimmino, WOHS Head Custodian Michael Calderara, and Business Administrator Tonya Flowers. Rotarians in attendance included President Marlene Karu and Michael Karu, Joseph Vena, Cynthia Hadley-Bailey, and Shantel Ricks, along with community members.

The ceremony began with the raising of the flag by the ROTC and the National Anthem sung and signed by the fifth grade choir and Sign Club.

Marlene Karu thanked all those who had helped make the Flags for Heroes Project a success, including the West Orange School District, West Orange Police, and community supporters. She also shared the mission of Rotary: Service Above Self. The Flags for Heroes project can currently be found in 15 states, with over 350 clubs and organizations recognizing their heroes. On each flag, a medallion is attached with the honorees’ names and their donors.

Mayor McCartney added that flags were also placed in front of Town Hall in anticipation of the upcoming Memorial Day Ceremony, and Superintendent Moore thanked the Rotary Club, students, and district staff for coming together to make the second Flags for Heroes Project in West Orange a success.

As the flag was retired, Cadet Brister shared the history of the flag. The ceremony ended with the Pledge of Allegiance.

"The West Orange Rotary would like to thank this year's sponsors for Flags for Heroes, and to Seton Hall Prep for joining our project by displaying American flags on their grounds," added Jerry Tarnoff, who helped organize the event.


Flags for Heroes

Flags in front of Kelly Elementary School

Flags for Heroes

WOHS AFJROTC raises the American Flag

Flags for Heroes

WOHS Principal Oscar Guerrero with AFJROTC

Flags for Heroes

Front Row (L-R) WOHS Principal Oscar Guerrero, Joe Vena, BOE VP Maria Vera, Michele Cestone, Rotary President Marlene Karu, Director of Bldgs. and Grounds Michael Cimmino, WOHS Head Custodian Michael Calderara, Council President Bill Rutherford, Chief Master Sergeant Yasmeen Beckham, Major Joseph Marchesini. Second Row (L-R) Shantel Ricks, Mayor Susan McCartney, Cynthia Hadley-Bailey, Tonya Flowers, WOAHO President Yvonne Roach. (Third Row (L-R) community member, Superintendent Hayden Moore, Mike Karu, Kelly Principal David Marion, Mr. Roach.


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Cynthia Cumming
May 14, 2024