Vet day assembly

Taft Union High School Human Element students and adviser, Emmy Lou
Heber, thanked Veterans on Friday during a school-wide assembly honoring those who
have served. As part of the commemoration, honored guests were invited to speak about
their experiences serving in the military and share those experiences with TUHS
Human Element students introduced the guest speakers, who included: United
States Army Veteran, Rocky O’Neill Jr., “who Served from 2003 to 2008 in the
United States Army, including two tours in Iraq,” Gene Bonsal, who “served from 1967
to 1971 active duty and from 1971 to 1973 in the Individual Ready Reserve in the United
States Marine Corps,” and John Downey, “who served active duty [in the] United
States Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005 and inactive reserve United States Marine
Corps from 2005 to 2007.” Each guest speaker shared photos and stories to show
students a personal side of military life.
Members of the TUHS Band, under the direction of Amanda Posey, welcomed
students and invited guests with patriotic music as they entered and exited the
auditorium. Natalie Babinez, Presley Golling, Dennis Posey, and Natalie Rubio opened
the assembly with the National Anthem and Kailee Gaylord followed by singing “My
Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

Before the guests spoke, a video of students and staff expressing thanks for our
Veterans played. Adrianna Ramos, a student in Heber’s Human Element class, closed
the assembly with, “Thank you to our guest speakers, who shared their experiences with
us and the importance of honoring and respecting those who served and fought for the
freedoms we have today.”
Also, Maria Alvarez’s A.S.B. and Leadership students joined Human Element to
decorate the campus for students to show appreciation and support for our Veterans.
Students were also encouraged to wear red, white, and blue on Friday to the assembly.

Photos by Jacquelyn White
1. Kailee Gaylord singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
2. Gene Bonsal speaking to students about his experiences serving in the United
States Marine Corps. Bonsal served from 1967 to 1971 active duty & from 1971 to
1973 in the Individual Ready Reserve in the United States Marine Corps.
3. John Downey captivates the audience with his personal experiences serving in
southern Iraq for operation Iraqi freedom. He also shared stories of other
Veterans and how he felt when asked to speak at the assembly.
4. Rocky O’Neill, Junior shares his experiences with students. O’Neill is a, “2001
Taft High graduate, who served from 2003 to 2008 in the United States Army.”
O’Neill shared what it was like to be away from family and how much family
meant to him during his time away from home.
5. Hallie Terrazas, a student in the Human Element class along with Kristofer
Downey introducing John Downey and Gene Bonsal as part of the assembly
honoring Veterans.


Vet Assembly Kailee Gaylord Rocky John Downey Gene Bonsal