Students and staff at Adams Central celebrated the bonds of patriotism and family during a special Veterans Day assembly inside Patriot Gymnasium Thursday morning.

Guest speaker was Andrew Soneson, a St. Paul High School graduate who now teaches history at Platteview High School near Springfield. Soneson served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2007-14, rising to the rank of captain.

Soneson had an important message to share with the young people at Adams Central.

For some, this is their first Veterans Day assembly. Soneson wanted to send a message for each of these students to remember.

“It is really important to teach these kids on what this day is about. I put different things around my classroom. I have really appreciated the chance to come out here to speak and share a message,” Soneson said.

Most Veterans Day assemblies aren’t televised, he said — but that doesn’t mean a message can’t be sent.

“The time I was overseas, typically was a brief comment or two about it. When you get a chance to talk to veterans and ask them questions, I encourage everybody to talk to veterans in their life,” he said.

“Don’t just say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ but ask them about their experiences. There are veterans all around us in our community, whether it be a grandfather, a cousin, teacher, whoever it is. Reach out to them and hear their stories because veterans going back to the beginnings of this country have done so much for us. If it is not something that we read in the history books, then the message gets lost.”

This was Soneson’s first time speaking at a school assembly, and he said he was honored to speak to the students at Adams Central.

“I’ve given speeches quite a few times a day teaching. Definitely it was a great ceremony. Being able to come to Adams Central and see the amazing things that these students are doing with band and choir turned out to be a very nice ceremony,” he said.

Thursday’s assembly included a little surprise for one Adams Central teacher.

Louis Svoboda, AC’s Life Skills teacher, was one of a few AC teachers recognized for their service. Svoboda was surprised with a Quilt of Valor that students from Milford High School made.

What made the presentation special was that his daughter Mylie, a Milford student, sneaked in and gave him the quilt.

“I was truly blessed, and it made tear up a little bit,” Svoboda said. “This day means a lot to me. I take pride in serving my country. I try to teach my kids to be passionate about our freedoms and it inspires them, and to let them know that sacrifice is what did it.”

Two representatives of the Juniata American Legion kicked off the ceremony with the presentation of colors. After Soneson gave his speech, the Adams Central choir sang “In Flanders Field.”

To close out the ceremony, Louie Eckhardt, assistant professor of music and director of bands at Hastings College, played taps.