Children of America Students Earn the Opportunity to Lay a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Guards at Arlington National Cemetery put essay contest winners at ease as they marched with the children to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Delray Beach, Fla. (PRWEB) July 26, 2012 - Four students from the Children of America Educational Childcare & Academy in Crofton, Md., recently experienced the high honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Students were chosen to participate in the ceremony in Washington, D.C., based on essays they wrote that addressed what honoring the tomb at Arlington National Cemetery would mean to them.

“The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier represents all soldiers killed in war,” said Emily Smalt, director of the Children of America Educational Childcare & Academy in Crofton, Md. “Helping lay flowers in honor of those who have died made the students feel like they were a part of history.”

In July, Crofton students, teachers and parents traveled to the nation’s capital to participate in the graveside ceremony at one of America’s most famous cemeteries.

“This was a day the children won’t soon forget,” said Jane Buckman, regional manager for Children of America Educational Childcare & Academy.

At the cemetery, the four essay winners from Children of America marched with military guards to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Two of the students then placed a wreath on the grave while a soldier used a bugle to play Taps.

“It was very moving,” said Jim Perretty, chief operating officer for Children of America. “I was honored to be there.”

During the ceremony, a cemetery guard announced that the wreath “was dedicated in the memory of the unknown soldiers by Children of America,” Perretty said.

Many soldiers who have died in wars have never been identified. Interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are one such man’s remains.

“Some of the students had never realized the price so many soldiers have paid for our freedom,” Smalt said. “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is so much more than just an ordinary grave. It helped show the kids that freedom isn’t free.”

According to Children of America Regional Manager Rhonda Mitchell, “the students brought tears to my eyes. It was such a touching moment for everyone there.”

Officials at Children of America said hosting the essay contest at the school provided a rewarding experience for students.

“Key to our learning curriculum at Children of America, are subjects like American history, government and civics,” said Thad Pryor, founder and CEO of Children of America Educational Childcare & Academy. “As educators, it’s rare when we have an opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience at a place as sacred as Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

About Children of America Educational Childcare & Academy

Founded in 1999, Florida-based Children of America is a leading provider of high-quality child care and after-school programs. With about 1,500 employees, the firm operates nearly 50 schools in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. With the opening of an additional 10 schools in 2012, the company will add about 350 new employees. An industry pioneer, Children of America's programs are developed to accommodate key age ranges and include innovative teaching methods such as "Tray Tasking," a learning tool proven to promote early reading and writing skills. Children of America is a subsidiary of World Wide Child Care Corp. Visit for more information.


Pat Parkinson



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