Cheektowaga students honor veterans with special ceremony

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sixty five veterans from all different branches were welcomed by students at the Maryvale Intermediate School. Students invited anyone they know who is a veteran, or is currently serving and thanked them, one by one.

“Heart touching, heartwarming. It’s beautiful,” said veteran Peter Szrkmao.

“I honored my step dad Jeff Smith and he served in the Army and the Air Force,” said Elizabeth Fiaschetti, 3rd grader.

“I think once they really get to talk to their, whether it’s a grandparent or an aunt or an uncle or a grandmother, I think they start to find out what they really did and what it means to be a veteran,” said Leigh Przepiora, Maryvale Intermediate School special education teacher.

Some students like Gabriel Smith are remembering beloved relatives, like his uncle.

“He was a person that was shot from a helicopter down to the earth. Even though he is not here with me today, I would like to honor him as a veteran,” said Gabriel Smith, 5th grader.

Those who have sacrificed, both nearby, and far away got a special shout out.

“We have 8 veterans who are currently serving so they are out making that ultimate sacrifice right now, all over the world,” said Przepiora.

“They helped us and they protected us and they made our world a better place,” said Fiaschetti.

The special ceremony and breakfast for veterans has taken place here at the Maryvale Intermediate school for the past 16 years, and students plan to honor veterans again next year. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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