, Derry, New Hampshire

October 31, 2013

Pay It Forward Club to honor local veterans

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — Local high school students are paying it forward and spreading community spirit to local veterans.

The Londonderry High School’s Pay It Forward Club will be hosting a free breakfast putting veterans in the spotlight and thanking them for their service.

The club will host a veterans breakfast on Nov. 9 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the high school cafeteria. The meal is free to veterans and one guest each.

The morning also includes special music performed by Londonderry music students and a veteran parade to follow.

This is one event on a long list of service projects the students are involved in, said club advisor and assistant principal Katie Sullivan.

She said the club began about three years ago when students were asked to help out with a breast cancer awareness event.

Since then, students have remained very interested in helping others and “paying it forward.”

“The kids loved it and I told them at that first event that they were paying it forward,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan explained that concept and the core group of 16 began the mission of helping others and getting involved.

That initial group all went off to college, but those students are still connected to the original group via Facebook, Sullivan said.

“I post everything and they are still coming back,” she said.

The veterans breakfast started small two years ago with about 30 local veterans coming to the high school to enjoy a breakfast.

Sullivan said expenses were paid out of her pocket and the students’ pockets. When money got tight, the event stalled.

Then the town and School Board offered support to keep the veterans event moving along.

This year’s event features breakfast prepared by school cafeteria staffers, who are volunteering their services. Other town organizations will support the morning with special activities and gifts.

The current Pay it Forward Group has helped support not only breast cancer awareness, but also children with special needs, Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Derry and the YMCA in Londonderry.

“I could go on and on,” Sullivan said.

She said the club is at about 30 members right now, small enough so those students can get involved in as many community activities as possible.

“They are awesome kids,” she said.

Following the veterans breakfast on Nov. 9, the American Legion will host the annual parade beginning at the high school. Sullivan said her club members would help escort veterans to the parade after they enjoy the breakfast.