CASA GRANDE

A group of students at Mission Heights Preparatory High School have long wanted an outside flagpole to fly the American flag on campus and now, they’re on a mission to raise the money to have one installed.

Although each classroom at the school has an American flag in the corner, an exterior flagpole adorned with the American flag would provide students with a place to gather, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, host commemorative events and pay tribute to the troops, said Rebekah Calvert, a 17-year-old senior at the school.

“I told my dad that there was no outside flag at the school and he said, ‘why don’t you do something about it?’” Calvert said. “The students are pretty patriotic already, but flying the flag outside will bring a little more patriotism to the school.”

The students formed three committees tasked with acquiring the flagpole.

Junior Stephen Starkey, 16, who hopes to go into the Marine Corps and later pursue a career in law enforcement, heads the building committee.

Abigail Tindall, 15, a junior, heads the ceremony planning committee and Calvert is tasked with fundraising.

They’re hoping to raise $2,500 to purchase and install a 25-foot flagpole on the school campus, near Cottonwood Lane and Colorado Street.

The students are looking to the community for help. They’re seeking donations and are selling brick pavers to raise the money.

Anyone can buy a brick paver, Calvert said. The 4-by-8-inch cement pavers are $50 each and include up to three lines of engraving, which can be the name of a family member, veteran or a favorite slogan.

Calvert and other students are visiting various businesses and organizations to give presentations on the fundraising effort.

“The students go in and pitch the idea to groups,” said Matt Davenport, assistant school leader.

The students hope to have all the money raised by Oct. 11 and to have the pole installed during fall break. If all goes according to schedule, the students plan to host a Veterans Day ceremony by the new flagpole in November.

“This flag will bring people together,” Starkey said.

Many of the school’s students have family members who are serving in the military or are veterans. About 10 percent of the school’s graduates have gone on to serve the country through military service, Davenport said.

“As a college prep school, we do push college but we know that going into the military is honorable and for some students, it’s their ticket to college,” Davenport said. “We’re very proud of our students who serve.”

MHP students recite the Pledge of Allegiance once a week in their classrooms.

Once the outside flagpole is installed, the school will have weekly flag ceremonies that will be live-streamed into the classrooms as the students recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Davenport said.

Those who wish to purchase a fundraiser brick paver may contact Calvert through email at Rebekah.Calvert@mhprep.com or may visit the school at 1376 E. Cottonwood Lane.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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