July 12, 2016

Freedom Shrine Dedicated at Schilling Farms Middle School

By Susie Royer
– The Collierville Herald –

Dedication of the Freedom Shrine at Schilling Farms Middle School brought tears to the eyes of some people who attended the patriotic ceremony.

The Freedom Shrine is a group of exactly replicated historic documents that teach students about the history of America, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Gettysburg Address, John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech, and other documents of national historic importance.

"It gives the children a sense of history, and of the span of history, and reminds them of the sacrifices of the people who went before us," said Deborah Myers, a teacher at Schilling Farms.

The Freedom Shrine is available to all schools through the Exchange Club. At Schilling Farms Middle School, it hangs in the hallway just outside the gymnasium where the ceremony took place on Thursday of last week.

Students decorated the gymnasium with a mural they made depicting scenes of America "from sea to shining sea." Scout members Brian Stout, Greg Stephen , and Benjamin Gonzalez presented the colors and led the pledge of allegiance before the Honors Band played a selection called "Court Festival," Ryan Wooden, president of the Schilling Farms Middle School Student Council, introduced Lewis Pittman, the East Memphis Exchange Club’s Freedom Shrine Chairman.

Pittman, a past vice-president of the National Exchange Club, spoke about the club’s efforts to promote patriotism and "improve the community and help with national projects for God, country, and young people."

Guest speaker, Homer Bunker, Shelby County Board of Education member and former board president, spoke to the students about freedom and patriotism.

The seventh grade chorus performed their version of "Sing a Song of Praise".

Frank Jones, president of the East Memphis Exchange Club, presented the Freedom Shrine plaque to Mrs. Sherry Philips, the principal of Schilling Farms.

As the ceremony ended, the crowd joined a former Shelby County school teacher, Mrs. Stacy Loftis, as she sang "God Bless the U.S.A."

Also in attendance were Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley, County School Superintendent Dr. James Mitchell, Frank Jones, president of the East Memphis Exchange Club, Joe Clayton, vice-chairman of the Shelby County Board of Education, Mrs. Sue Seahorn, president of the Schilling Farms Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association, and Collierville Alderman Nikki Campbell.