Poster of 'hometown hero' 1st in class in national contest
When 9-year-old Alexis Arce decided to have fun with a craft project that honors veterans, she learned more about one local vet than she expected.
The fourth-grader at Colfax Upper Elementary participated in the Paralyzed Veterans of America Veterans Day Poster and Essay Contest.
Among the 700 entrants nationwide, the Springdale girl placed first among third- and fourth-graders.
Alexis chose longtime family friend Donald McGhee, 87, to profile for the project because this year's theme for the contest was “Show or tell a personal story about a veteran who has made a difference in your life or hometown.”
Paralyzed Veterans of America started the contest to creatively and actively involve America's youth in the celebration of Veterans Day.
McGhee, a Springdale Township resident, is a former Allegheny Valley School District superintendent. He's the namesake of the high school's Donald G. McGhee gym.
When she won the contest, Alexis received two copies of the poster she created from the Paralyzed Veterans of America. It depicts important points in McGhee's life on red and blue stars, with a picture of her and McGhee sitting together on his couch in the corner of the poster.
Alexis gave one of the copies to McGhee.
“That is something to treasure,” McGhee said. “I'm very honored.”
The school district received a plaque for Alexis' award, and she received a $100 gift certificate to the Discovery Channel Store.
Paralyzed veteran Robert Morris of Uniontown came to the school to present Alexis with her awards.
“She doesn't truly understand how big of a deal it is,” said her mother, Sharon Arce. “One day she will.”
When a teacher handed out information on the contest, Sharon said, Alexis initially decided to participate in the contest because she loves arts and crafts.
“I said, Pap is the only one who fits this description of a hometown hero,” Sharon Arce said. The family affectionately calls McGhee “Pap” because the families are longtime friends.
For the project, Alexis interviewed McGhee and said she learned a lot.
“Everything was interesting,” she said.
McGhee, a World War II Navy veteran, was the third superintendent of the Allegheny Valley School District, retiring in 1988 after 35 years.
He started out as a teacher in the district.
“I worked my way down to superintendent,” McGhee joked.
McGhee's wife, Elaine, said she thinks it's important for students to learn about the veterans who served their country.
McGhee agreed with his wife.
“I think they should know about the history of the country,” he said. “And why they're safe and sound.”
Sharon Arce said that was the main reason she wanted Alexis to participate in the contest.
“I explained to her everything he had to sacrifice,” Sharon said.
Kate Wilcox is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Armed bandit holds up Leechburg gas station
- Harmar OKs Sheetz land development plan
- New Kensington Megan’s Law offender jailed on new child porn charges
- Virginia man to stand trial in Armstrong molestation case
- VND photographers, reporters recognized
- Harrison eyes liens against rundown properties
- Allegheny Valley Hospital names New Kensington man CEO
- Pa. commission dismisses ethics complaints against West Deer officials
- West Deer residents voice opposition to proposed events center
- Oakmont, Kiski Township election results finalized
- Tarentum hires borough manager