Football team hosts military night to show support


Josephine Moore

Students and staff dressed in camouflage and green today to show support for the military.

Keegan Dant, Chase Deist, and Sarah Elbeshbishi

Tonight’s Watkins Mill High School football game against the Seneca Valley Screamin’ Eagles will have a military theme in honor of staff and community members in the military or with military families.  

Military appreciation night is “mainly to show support for…those that have served our country and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives,” science teacher Matthew Johnson said.

Many Watkins Mill staff members have served in the military, including security guard Brian Johnson, English teacher David Sampselle, assistant principal Eric Jackson, IB program coordinator Lisa Ingram, staff development teacher Kerrin Torres-Meriwether, and assistant principal Rhoshanda Pyles.

Pyles, whose husband is a Naval Commander, plans to attend tonight’s game although her husband cannot because he is currently stationed in Connecticut. “My daughters and myself had to stay here,” Pyles said. “He will be there for three years.”

“What we’re doing is not [meant to disrespect the military]…we want them to come out [so we can] show them.”

To show appreciation at the game, Johnson plans to “have anyone who has served, is serving or is in the reserves stand up…so we can salute them.”

The idea for the military night came after the football team’s protest, in which members of the team knelt during the National Anthem.

The players intend to stand tonight with linked arms to show support of the military. “It’s just to show the military the we still respect them… What we’re doing is not [meant to disrespect the military]…we want them to come out [so we can] show them,” junior quarterback Markel Grant.

“I think [the Watkins Mill football team] felt that is was important to show that they also support the armed forces,” Torres-Meriwether said.

Sampselle was in ROTC in college before he was drafted into the army, where he spent two years as an officer in the US Army infantry. He feels military appreciation night is a positive idea because it’s good to see “students nowadays, who really have never been involved in a war… [thinking] outside themselves to honor or respect somebody who has sacrificed something.”

“I think it’s a really awesome idea,” Ingram said. Ingram is an honorable Air Force discharged reservist. “Any way young people can show that they respect the institutes… [improves] our culture as a whole.”



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