BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A Bloomfield High School teacher is attempting to raise $4,000 in order to cover the high school lawn with 4,000 American flags by Memorial Day. With the help of one Bloomfield elementary school, she is about halfway there.
Peggy Sullivan, a BHS history teacher, said she got the idea for the display after seeing one at an Ocean County high school.
“As a history teacher, I find it important to show our students the sacrifice our veterans have made for this country,” she said in an email.
Sullivan said she believes the feeling of patriotism among young people has declined in America and thought BHS should show its appreciation for the courage and dedication of the American soldier.
“My father, John Sullivan, was a Marine sergeant in the Korean War,” she said. “We were raised always to appreciate the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
She shared her idea with Principal Chris Jennings who approved it. She also spoke with Joseph Ellmer and Allen Garth, members of the Bloomfield VFW Post 711.
Sullivan asked the head BHS head custodian, Glenn Miller, about the number of flags needed to cover the lawn. It was decided 4,000 flags would do it.
Sullivan plans on having the display ignite classroom work. She will have her students research any war, or veteran, and to dedicate a flag to a person of interest.
“Some of these soldiers never came home,” she said. “Some were drafted at such a young age, suffer from PTSD and saw horrors about which they never spoke. I would like them to know that today’s young generation appreciate them.”
Funds for the project are being raised by bake sales, but also contributions have been received from local businesses, the Bloomfield VFW and Elks Lodge, neighboring VFWs. private citizens and Sullivan’s colleagues in the history department. All Bloomfield elementary schools also seem to be on board, according to Sullivan, with Fairview Elementary a big contributor.
“They did a wonderful job,” she said.
Fairview Principal Ginamarie Mignone said when she learned about the display, she immediately wanted to help feeling the tribute was especially needed.
“It was also an opportunity for our teachers to open a discussion in the classroom about the sacrifices made for the freedoms we enjoy,” she said in an email.
Mignone wanted her students to be part of the event. She figured since her school had 530 students, $600 could easily be raised. She brought the proposal to her staff, parents and the home and school association. A two-week fundraiser was planned.
“Our art teacher, Sandra Guglielmino, along with BHS student Desmond Ashby, created a huge flag bulletin board and donors were given a flag heart for every dollar they donated,” she said. “They colored their flag hearts, put their names on them and we displayed the hearts around the flag. The donations began to pour in. We ended the fundraiser on Jan. 31 and collected way beyond our goal.”
The school raised $1,900 for the BHS display.
“We will keep this display up through Memorial Day,” Mignone said. “We wish the high school much success in meeting their goal of 4,000 flags. We cannot wait to see all the flags on display.”
Sullivan said the flags will be on display by Memorial Day. She also hopes to have them displayed for 9/11 and Veterans Day. As of Feb. 7, they had $3,400.
had been collected.