Superintendent’s Corner: Freedom Is Not Free


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“There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Today is Veterans Day. No long holiday weekend held in anticipation. Few commercials with unlimited sales.

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But Veterans Day marks an important day nonetheless that honors those who have committed themselves to a cause greater than themselves. My father-in-law Colonel Jack A. Smith rests at Arlington National Cemetery and dedicated his life to protecting others. Many of you have family or friends who have similarly served. Veterans Day is a day that should bestow gratitude to the men and women who have sacrificed for you, for me, and for all of our families. They have given of themselves for the freedoms we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to an ideal that many of us will never truly comprehend.

Freedom is not free. Yesterday marked a national remembrance tribute to those who have and continue to serve and protect our country. But making our appreciation known should go well beyond a Facebook like or Twitter retweet. Our veterans have sacrificed and deserve so much more from each and everyone of us.

Sgt. Brett D’Alessandro, a 2010 Verona High School graduate, is one of our very own. He too has served our country. But he saw a need when he returned from his service and founded Backpacks For Life, an organization that supports struggling and homeless veterans with knowledge and resources so they can return to a path of self-sufficiency. I am making a personal commitment to Backpacks For Life this November in honor of all of our veterans. Each of our schools will also be making a similar commitment collecting items and contributions as noted below in the attached flyers. We hope you will decide to join us in helping make a difference in the lives of so many veterans who continue to make a difference in all of our lives. Lastly, remember the best expression of gratitude is when you see a veteran, thank a veteran.

Learn more about this effort by visiting

#ServingOurVeterans #BackpacksForLife #SupportOurVeterans

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All my best,

Dr. Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools

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  1. Dr. Rui Dionisio,
    Thank you very much for supporting our mission! We started Backpacks For Life 5 years ago right here in Verona and since our first day, we’ve had so much support from Verona…especially the schools! Happy Veterans Day – a special thanks to Colonel Jack A. Smith and every hero that has come before me. I’m honored to continue the legacy of serving our great nation.


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