A few years ago, two Conemaugh Township students had the idea to replace all of the American flags within the school after noticing they were old and worn. Today, they finally got to see everything they worked for.
When Brooke Szala and Alayliah Reynolds were in 7th grade, they sat in a classroom where a substitute teacher mentioned to them that the flag hanging in the room looked a bit worn and should be replaced.
“So, we took a look around and said these flags are beat up and that one looks yellow and some had rips in them and were hanging on by a thread so we were like we need to do something about this,” said Brooke Szala, 9th Grade Student at Conemaugh Township.
Shortly after making this plan, COVID hit, and they had to pause what they were doing. About two months ago, they were finally able to start working on this again and with the help of a local VFW that donated $3000, they were able to replace about 50 flags in classrooms as well as get flags for the cafeteria, gym, and auditorium.
“I went to the VFW myself and I interviewed with a guy named George. He later passed away and I wanted to keep doing this for him because he was very excited to do it,” said Alayliah Reynolds, 9th Grade Student at Conemaugh Township.
Now, Reynolds says that this project is in memory of George and he will also be honored in another way.
“George was helping with this flag deal and he passed away so now we started a scholarship in his honor,” said Bob Yoder, Member of VFW in Hollsopple.
The school is very proud of the girls for taking on this project and their work is also greatly appreciated by those who are serving and have served our country.
“It’s something we don’t see very often. Especially in today’s society. So, it was very refreshing to see that in such a young society today,” said Staff Sergeant Tyler Landis, Pennsylvania Army National Guard – Johnstown.
“We really appreciate the girls doing this,”
After all of the old flags are taken down and replaced, a group of boy scouts from Conemaugh Township will properly retire the flags.
“You have to separate the stripes and separate the stars. You have to separate each individual red and white and separate them into piles and then we will properly retire them on an open fire pit,” said Nathaniel Denaoult, 11th Grade Student at Conemaugh Township.
“This is definitely going to be our little marking after we leave. So when we come back, we can look back at this and be like we did that,”
All of the old flags will be retired later this summer.