Medal of Honor winner Vernon Baker leaned on his 28 years of military experience - and his grandfatherly wisdom - at Otis Orchards Elementary School this week.
Baker, who lives with his wife Heidy in St. Maries, was awarded the nation’s highest honor for bravery about a year ago for actions during World War II.
At Otis Orchards on Monday, Baker spoke to three groups of students, starting with the youngest. Given the wiggle factor in an audience of kindergartners and first-graders, he wisely kept his remarks brief. But the little ones could have asked him questions half the afternoon.
“How long were you in the Army?”
“I was in the Army 28 years,” Baker answered. Sometimes the simplest answers brought the most oohs and aahs; this was one of them.
“How old are you?” A first-grader’s voice from the audience answered for Baker: “Seventy-seven.”
“Ah-ha - you’re wrong. I’m 78,” Baker replied, to laughter all around.
“How long ago did World War II start?” Baker told of remembering a headline saying that Britain and Germany were at war; he was 19.
Baker has mastered the art of the simple answer.
“How many men did you rescue?”
“I rescued myself and my men followed.”
“How long was the war?”
“How many people were killed in the war?”
“There were so many people killed in the war, that I can’t count them all.”
“How’d you get into the war?”
“I went down and raised my hand and said ‘I will.’ That’s how I got into the war.”
“What was it like in the Army?”
“You had to get up early, work hard during the day; you had to go to bed early; and then you had to turn around and get up early again the next day.”
And from one little kindergartner in the front row, wearing white and blue striped pants and red socks: “How many people did you kill?”
“I didn’t count. I’m sorry.”
CV geography star
Chelsea McKnight, an eighth-grader at Evergreen Junior High, has won Central Valley’s district-wide Geography Bee. She now goes on to regional competition.
St. Mary’s winner
Seventh-grader Katie Coyle won the geography bee at St. Mary’s Catholic School last month. Second place went to Jack Mountjoy, a fifth-grader; third place was Sarah Wolverton, a seventh-grader.
Raffle helps CV group
Central Valley High School’s Competing Winter Color Guard is raffling a Princess Diana bear to help the group’s 18 members travel to California for competition.
This March, the group will compete in the Winter Guard International Competition in San Jose.
Raffle tickets are $5 and will be available this weekend at the Spokane Valley Mall. The drawing will be Sunday at 6 p.m. at the mall.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: The Education Notebook is the spot The Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com
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