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THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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Veterans share experiences in assembly

U.S. Military Veterans spoke at an assembly organized by Operation Enduring Freedom, providing unique perspectives on military service during last period on Nov. 13.

Hundreds of students listened as veteran Marine Staff Sergeant Nicholas Lamothe and Army veteran ARHS Class of 2019 alumnus Tony Massaglia shared their military experiences, and senior Adam Franca announced his commitment to service in the Marine Corps.

Massaglia shared stories from his experiences working with soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues and was glad to have the opportunity to come back to his alma mater.

“I think it’s just really cool to be able to give back to the school, give back to the community a little bit and fill everyone in on how important Veterans Day really is,” Massaglia said.

Massaliga was thankful Operation Enduring Freedom adviser Gina Johnston reached out to him to speak at the assembly. 

“I think it’s really important for people who have experienced service [to come and talk] because there’s such a gap of knowledge between a civilian and a soldier,” Massaglia said. “I think people don’t truly understand what it is the military does and especially the challenges they face when they get home.”

I think it’s really important for people who have experienced service [to come and talk] because there’s such a gap of knowledge between a civilian and a soldier,

— Army veteran ARHS Class of 2019 alumnus Tony Massaglia

After Massaglia spoke, Lamothe followed up with his experiences from having served in the Marines for nine years.

“[Students] should understand it’s selfless service–not about doing it for yourself, but to defend the Constitution; if it weren’t for the men and women before me, who knows where we would be,” Lamothe said. 

Franca also announced his commitment to enlisting in the Marines following graduation. He wants to continue honoring those who serve his country and made his decision to join the military his junior year after determining college is not the right path for him. After reading books about Marines who inspired him, Franca knew he wanted to be a Marine.

After Franca first told his parents about his decision, they were concerned about his choice of military branch.

“Every time my parents tell me to go into a different branch, it just makes me want to go into the Marines even more,” Franca said. 

Johnston wishes to continue the legacy of this assembly as the years go on, despite the hard work and planning it takes.

“It was a week ago that I finally locked down the speakers from today, as the other group fell through,” Johnston said.

Senior Declan Brouillard is a member of Operation Enduring Freedom, which has many events planned for this school year including a Memorial Day assembly and the Murph Challenge in March. Brouillard is considering enlisting in the military for cybersecurity.

Every time my parents tell me to go into a different branch, it just makes me want to go into the Marines even more,

— Senior Adam Franca

“From a young age, I’ve always loved the military,” Broulliard said. “I’ve always been fond of them, and knowing that my family members are veterans and are in service right now, that really inspires me to join [the military].”

Principal Sean Bevan, who has observed this assembly from the outside perspective these last few years, was moved by all of the speeches. 

“I was particularly moved by Tony’s story about how mental health is such a challenge for our military men and women, which I knew, but to hear somebody really describe it with such dramatic flair will stay with me for a long time,” Bevan said.

Science teacher Kevin Hausmann was glad Algonquin honors veterans with the assembly.

“We should celebrate everyone who gave the ultimate sacrifice as well as those who come back honorably,” Hausmann said. 

Junior Sophie Kopstein was among the audience members and believes the assembly was valuable. 

“Seeing the perspective of someone who had a positive experience in the military gives [students] a better perspective on what the military really is,” Kopstein said.

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