West Essex hosts 1st veterans assembly


Jennie Lathrop

Student body gathers in gymnasium to honor Veterans.

By Gabrielle Kesh, Managing Editor

West Essex hosted the first-ever “Honoring Our Veterans” assembly on Oct. 6 to commend the bravery of veterans from North Caldwell, Fairfield, Roseland and Essex Fells. The event took place right before the national holiday, Veterans Day, and gave students the opportunity to thank veterans in the community for their service.

The entire study body congregated in the gymnasium to watch 30 veterans receive recognition for their various positions serving the country. The assembly started with Principal Caesar Diliberto welcoming students and guests, which led to a Presentation of the Colors by the Fairfield Police Honor Guard. Shortly after, the West Essex band put on a patriotic performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“It was truly incredible to see how involved the audience members were, but also how truly touched the veterans were,” history teacher Caroline Blanchard said. 

The Epifanio and McConnell-Fuller families attended the event to honor two West Essex alums, Neil Epifanio class of 1968 and Derek McConnell class of 2008, who lost their lives fighting for our country. McConnell’s mother presented a “missing man table” at the assembly which she said is a memorial that the United States Armed Forces uses to remember the fallen or missing soldiers.

The event has already generated a ton of positive feedback from the veterans and their guests. With the presence of all the students, faculty and many community members, everyone’s help made the assembly a huge success.

“After watching the assembly, I realized how important it is to love and appreciate the people in my life,” senior Danielle Williams said. “The entire event inspired me to do more good in the world and to be appreciative of all that I have.”