Pride & Patriotism, an organization that promotes patriotism in the schools and the community, is hosting its ninth annual event on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Barbara B. Mann Music Hall in Fort Myers.
The event, Youth Celebrating the Arts and Honoring Our Veterans, will feature music, as well as fete Lee County students of all grade levels with awards for patriotic-themed art.
"We highlight the artistic talents of our students K through 12 through a contest where they do artwork, poems and a mini-documentary interviewing their grandfather who is a veteran involved in war," said Jack Wagner, organization president.
The students are arranged in grade groups, each with a different theme, and the top three in each group will receive a medal the night of the event from a veteran.
"The whole thrust of it is to educate students in patriotism and sacrifice using their art ability to express that and to bring the students into contact with the veterans who are presenting the awards," said Col. Bill Deile (Ret.), a former Cape Coral city councilman and member of the organization.
The mini-documentary is the newest category, introduced last year. This gives Lee County students the opportunity to produce video mini-documentary veteran's story.
"It's hard to get kids into that, but they're so technically sound that they know much more than we do," Wagner said.
These stories will be archived on this web site and the Library of Congress so students can learn what it meant for veterans to serve their county.
The annual event is "dedicated to fostering a love of the fine arts, while at the same time honoring those among us who deserve recognition - our veterans," according to its website.
The organization was founded by former school board member Elinor Scricca in 2003 as a way to bring school children into contact with veterans and use art as the medium to bring them together, Deile said.
Founders of the organization believed that patriotism was beginning to get lost in the classroom as teachers began to carry a heavier load, Deile said.
"Patriotism may not have been getting the attention it deserved and our heritage has been preserved through patriotism, fighting wars foreign and domestic," Deile said. "This is an attempt to heighten awareness to what these people have sacrificed and bring them into that area of cognoscence."
Pride & Patriotism partners with the Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County Public School District, City of Cape Coral Charter Schools, Lee County public charter schools and the veteran organizations of Lee County.