ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Students from Mehlville High School’s National Honor Society gathered at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery Sunday, not for a class assignment or a test but to honor the men and women who have served our country.
Anela Abdijanovic, a senior at Mehlville High School and member of the National Honor Society, shared their mission.
“We go gravestone to gravestone,” she said. “We put our wreath there, and then we put the rocks. We take a picture of it to put in the cards that we fill and give to the family members.”
They honored around 150 veterans, who are loved ones of someone in the district.
“I appreciate them for the time that they served because they’re the reason why I get to live the life that I do now,” Abdijanovic said.
Abdijanovic and other National Honor Society members divided into 12 groups and got right to work.
“Just being a part of this is really special, and being involved is just amazing,” Abdijanovic said. “We had a wreath-making section where we decorated all the wreaths that we were going to place on the graves. Then we had the rock decorating, and then we have the card making, and then here’s the event.”
The students approached each grave site and carefully placed a wreath in front of their assigned headstone and set a small rock marker beside it, symbolizing their deep appreciation for the veterans’ sacrifices.
Mehlville High School’s National Honor Society also joined forces with students from Bierbaum Elementary School, who crafted beautiful rock markers. Students place the wreaths and rocks and take a photo.
“We leave the rock,” teacher Stephen Klobe said. “Then we send those pictures in a card that our students will also make to all the loved ones in our district that’ll say like, ‘Thank you for your loved one’s service. We’re happy to remember them for this day.'”
Klobe is a French teacher and co-sponsor of the National Honor Society.
He emphasized the importance of getting students involved in projects like this: “It’s just really important to get them out there doing things, helping remember all those people,” he said.
Klobe’s grandfather served in World War II in the Navy.
Deana McKelvie spearheaded the project six years ago. She has a personal connection to the six-year tradition as well.
“My dad is a retired major from the United States Army. He served in Vietnam, and he was also a pilot and a flight instructor,” McKelvie said.
As we observe Veterans Day this weekend, Abdijanovic summed up the meaning behind the event, saying, “It’s an irreplaceable feeling.”