A combined Freedom Shrine Dedication and Give Me Liberty 5th Grader’s Assembly was held at Majestic Fields Elementary last Friday, May 17. Principal Travis Wilstead was approached earlier this year about the prospect of working together to install an Exchange Club sponsored Freedom Shrine in one of the school’s hallways for display as an educational benefit for the school’s students. Mark Loosli, Exchange Club member over this project presented the Exchange Club’s traditional Freedom Shrine display, along with one known as a Freedom Gallery. Scott Swain of the Utah Valley Exchange Club owns the company, Roots of Freedom and they refer to theirs as a Freedom Gallery due to the number of framed pictures that go along with the significant historical documents included in the display. Principal Wilstead was excited about the prospect of having this beautiful display for his students to enjoy now, and for years to come. Principal Wilstead agreed to have the school pay half of the $1,500 cost and the Exchange Club would pay the other half for the Freedom Gallery chosen.
Loosli ordered the display and delivered it to the school so they could arrange for their staff to install it in a prominent location close to the front office where it would be seen by students, staff, parents and others who might frequent the school. A Freedom Shrine Dedication was suggested to be held on the same day as the school’s annual Give Me Liberty Assembly. It was decided that May 17 would be the best time, right before the students left for the summer. Loosli invited representatives from the school district, the Washington City Mayor’s office, and the local police and fire departments to attend the dedication.
Loosli was surprised to hear that Majestic Fields Elementary has five 5th grade classes with approximately 135 students. The assembly started at 9:30 AM and all the 5th grade students’ parents were invited to attend. The school’s auditorium was packed. Additional chairs were set up to accommodate all the parents and guests. The school had conducted a contest where 5th grade students could submit their artwork for consideration as a design for the front of the Give Me Liberty t-shirts the 5th grade students wore to the assembly. They are a bright blue with an Eagle and Flag on the front (see pic attached). There was a students’ provided flag ceremony, the singing of the National Anthem and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The assembly was over an hour long with the students singing various songs, including “Spirit of America,” “Leaders of Tomorrow,” “Grand Old Flag,” “Fifty Nifty” which highlighted all fifty states, “American Presidents,” “Proud to be an American,” and “Thank You Soldiers.” The patriotic program also included a small group of students reciting the Gettysburg Address totally from memory. There were 25 students who had passed off all the requirements as part of the Give Me Liberty Program, and they were introduced individually and given a certificate and award medallion. Loosli was then introduced to the group and allowed to say a few words about the work of the Exchange Club of St. George and their contributions to the community. A $200.00 check was presented to Principal Wilstead to be used to help offset the cost of the medallions.
The Freedom Gallery display had been installed over the weekend prior to the assembly, but then covered so the students couldn’t see it. The students were asked to write their guess in the form of graffiti all over the cover of what was behind the cover. The last step in the assembly was to broadcast the “uncovering” of the Freedom Gallery on the screen in the front the auditorium for all to see. Each student was given a participation certificate by class, they then had a chance to walk down the hallway back to class and view the display. There were a number of members of the Washington City Police Department in the hallway saying “hi” and giving the students a high five.
About the St. George Exchange Club: The St. George Exchange Club has actively served Southern Utah for over 40 years with members who are local business owners, community leaders and volunteer citizens. Complementing the club is the St. George Exchange Club Foundation. Each year, club members are elected to preside over the Foundation Board, which is currently led by Mark Loosli. The St. George Exchange Club Foundation is a registered 501(c) 3 and manages all funds donated or raised by the club. Funds raised are returned to the community through various programs the St. George Exchange Club sponsors. In addition to the Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival (SUPAF), the St. George Exchange Club also sponsors and hosts the St. George Mayor’s Walk, Iron Kids Fun Run, Student of the Month Recognition, Freedom Shrine installations and dedications, the Give Me Liberty program which serves area 5th graders, and Give a Kid a Flag to Wave at the annual Veterans Day Parade in Washington City. The St. George Exchange Club, in cooperation with Dixie State University, also awards each area high school’s top graduating senior with First Year Tuition Grants. In 2015 the club contributed over $100,000 to help the City of St. George build the All Abilities Park, which was dedicated in the Fall of 2016.
The St. George Exchange Club is a local branch of America’s oldest service club, dedicated to promoting Americanism, Youth Programs, Community Service, and Child Abuse Prevention. Exchange-ites welcome men and women in the area who want to get involved to join them Thursday mornings at 7:30AM at George’s in Ancestor Square. Exchange Club ContactMindy SuttnerSt. George Exchange Club President435firstname.lastname@example.org