During the Lower School assembly, students honored faculty member Captain Lori Yost and Major Alison Thompson ’95 (mother of a Grade 4 student). Major Thompson spoke with the students about her continued service in the Air Force and showed a video of airdrop bloopers. Head of Lower School Dr. Cricket Mikheev said, “It was an important time for the Lower School to gather as a community, deepen their understanding about the people who serve our country, and show respect and gratitude.”
The Middle and Senior School assembly opened with remarks from Senior School President Henry Meakem, followed by the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by the Senior School chorus and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. As a tradition, the story of the memorial plaque honoring eight of Sewickley Academy’s fallen men was explained to the audience by Head of School Kolia O’Connor. “Today of all days, then, let us be mindful of our brave men and women in uniform and their families who continue our nation’s noble tradition of service and who continue to be in harm’s way,” Mr. O’Connor said. “And let us remember, whether serving during a time of war or peace, what our veterans and their families, including those who are here today, have sacrificed for us and for our country. For their selfless service we give thanks!”
Henry then introduced speaker Captain Megan Andros, who is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, and a graduate of Charlotte Latin School. After being heavily recruited to play tennis in college, Captain Andros decided to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. She was a starter in singles and doubles tennis for all four years in college and graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in International Law. The same day she graduated, she was commissioned as an Ordnance Officer in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division. One of her many jobs in that position included being a Brigade Reset Officer where she was responsible for programming, tracking, managing, and moving nearly 30,000 pieces of equipment in preparation for another deployment. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served in northwest Baghdad from January 2009 – January 2010. In total, Captain Andros spent five years on Active Duty and left the military in July 2011. She currently works here in Pittsburgh as a community and economic development program officer at The Heinz Endowments.
Captain Andros shared her story of service, speaking about her experience in the military. “My service in the military made me understand and value tenacity, both in myself and others. I learned that when life gets tough, you just have to get tougher,” she said. “It also showed me the value of pushing beyond what feels comfortable and normal. If I’m being honest, I was probably uncomfortable more days when I was in the military than I was comfortable. But that’s when I learned and when I grew. To this day, no matter how hard life gets, I know it’s been harder and I know I can push through the roadblock and be successful.”
After Captain Andros finished her remarks, Henry introduced each of the veterans in attendance by calling his or her name, branch of service, and relationship to Sewickley Academy. As the assembly came to a close, Henry said, “Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Sewickley Academy student body, faculty, and staff, we would like to sincerely thank you for your unselfish service to our country and for being here today.”
The bugler played taps while the victory bell was rung 11 times to signify the Armistice of November 11, 1918, “On the 11th hours of the 11th day of the 11th month, all the guns fell silent.”
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Listen to Captain Andros' remarks below.