Holley celebrates Flag Day tradition, with parade from school through Public Square

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2024 at 7:57 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Holley Elementary School celebrated Flag Day in a big way on Friday with its patriotic parade from the school down North Main Street, to Route 31 and the Public Square before gathering for a ceremony in front of the Murray-Holley Historical Society.

About 500 students were joined by teachers and parents in the parade. This was the 67th annual Flag Day celebration. The parade and ceremony started in 1957,. The school presents citizenship awards for each grade level.

Brian Bartalo (left), the district superintendent, rides with Don Penna, a maintenance supervisor. They are playing music from the golf cart, including “This Land is Your Land” and “Born in the U.S.A.”

Bartalo, who is retiring June 30 after six years as Holley superintendent, said the Flag Day ceremony is a big highlight in the school year.

“I have never seen anything like it until I came here,” Bartalo said about Holley’s Flag Day celebration. “Patriotism and love of country is evident here.”

These elementary students walk along Route 31 through the Public Square.

Fifth-grader Olivia Rebis wore red, white and blue while serving as one of the student emcees during the ceremony. Grayson Kelley, another fifth-grader, also was an emcee. They are joined up front by principal Karri Schiavone, left, Brendan Keiser, the district’s director of teaching and learning, and Sal DeLuca, vice president of the Board of Education.

The elementary band and chorus performed several patriotic songs.

Principal Karri Schiavone presented the Catherine B. Press citizenship awards went to fifth-graders Mya Gerringer and Chase Lasher. These students demonstrate honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility and courage. Schiavone will start as Holley’s district superintendent on July 1.

Good Citizens from last year’s Flag Day ceremony were able to walk near the front of the parade, wearing their “Good Citizen” shirts.