VFW Post 12223 and NWISD: Teaching Patriotism

By: Ruben Borjas, Jr., Columnist, Montgomery County News
| Published 02/15/2024


MONTGOMERY, TX -- Under the mantra of #StillServing, members of VFW Post 12223, in Montgomery, paid a visit to New Waverly Intermediate School on February 6th, to teach Americanism to the 4th graders and 5th graders of the school. The entire staff, faculty, and students enjoyed the program, which involved the history of the United States Flag, and how to fold it, as well as understanding the thirteen folds of the flag and their meanings.

Also participating in the program were Montgomery High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp instructor, First Sergeant William Miller IV, and several of his students; Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Boehm, and Cadet First Sergeant Nathaniel Peacock, who performed the flag folding demonstration.

“We are in the classrooms teaching our Youth these special programs, such as about folding The Flag today,” said VFW Post 12223 Commander Foy Day. “It is one of the most important missions that the VFW conducts every year. These students are Our Nation’s future leaders, and in order to remain free, they need to have a basic understanding of the sacrifices of the Veterans and Military Service Members that continue to keep us free.”

VFW Post 12223, is home based in Montgomery, but also has Willis and New Waverly under its belt in service to Veterans and their communities. The VFW attends different schools in the region yearly to maximize involvement with the students, and to impress upon them that 18 million living Veterans today, and the millions that served before them served. and even died, during Our Nation’s most challenging times. They all took up the mantle to protect our great homeland in peacetime and in war.

Besides the VFW’s involvement, Mrs. Joy Fulp, a Social Studies/US History teacher at NWIS, supported by school Principal Larry Carlson, has started an Honor Guard Program this year as a way to instill honor and accountability in her students. The teachers at the school actually have expectations in their Honor Guard. They must maintain a “B” average or better to remain in The Honor Guard. They learn to lead others in marching drills. In fact, the entire 5th grade class marches everywhere they go in the school, led by The Honor Guard. They must address teachers and staff appropriately with "yes ma'am", "no ma'am", "yes sir", and "no sir" when answering questions. Students that are in Honor Guard are expected to eat lunch together and maintain good table manners. It’s quite an impressive system.

“The influence I have on the future of these children is not taken lightly. It is a daunting responsibility,” said Mrs. Fulp. “I believe teaching is a call by God and I strive to remain faithful to that call. I love and respect the United States of America.”

And Honor Guard members are still expected to maintain their behavior at home as well. Bed must be made just like in the military. The bedroom (barracks) must be clean and maintained daily. And even their bathrooms (head) must be maintained daily and deep cleaned weekly. The Honor Guard are expected to be in bed by 9 pm, or 2100 hrs., which ensures a good night's sleep, to be ready for the next day. The students are also on an exercise regimen doing push ups and set ups daily.

Mrs. Fulp and Principal Carlson really have a positive model at their school that can be shared with other districts. The expectations on behavior and student performance is a breath of fresh air. The Honor Guard are expected to pass routine check-ins with their other teachers, and parents, in reference to their duties, attitudes, work ethnic, and fulfillment of obligations.

“My goal is to instill in the heart of each and every student knowledge of the sacrifices made by our Founders, past presidents, and those in military service,” Mrs. Fulp told MCN. “It is an honor to be a part of the growth of each student in knowledge of Our Nation's history."

Honor Guard students are being prepared for possible military careers, but even if they go on to something else, the lessons learned in New Waverly creates in the students the sense of a greater work ethic, which sets them apart from their peers and expands their chances at being a success in their chosen endeavors. And it dovetails into Mrs. Fulp expectations in her honor guard, to instill teamwork, the promotion of hard work and respect for each other, and most importantly, to understand accountability, personal and others, so that the Honor Guard students can serve as role models for their peers.

Mrs. Fulp’s teaching style is unique in that almost everything is learned through song. Her students know patriotic songs, the presidents, state capitals, the Preamble, and even the Gettysburg address. Remarkable. They each sing the Star Spangled Banner for an individual grade. Mrs. Fulp and her students have a strong sense of pride for Our Country, and it’s through her personal connection with her students that she has been successful in her endeavor, and she will be that one teacher that has changed her students lives for the better.

The influence of Mrs. Fulp on her students has been noticed by other teachers. She was recently presented with a flag flown over the Capitol Building in Austin in by her fellow teacher, Mrs. Stacy Slott. She had requested a flag be flown on 9/11 to signify it being a dark day in American history, but it was a day that also brought Americans together. It was a reminder of American strength in the face of tragedy. Mrs. Slott also in a big believer in Mrs. Fulp’s ability to influence a student's ability to believe in themselves for their entire lives.

"Mrs. Fulp is a throwback to the good old days of teaching. What she accomplishes with students doesn't require a ton of technology. It's good old fashioned memorization and listening to interesting stories about this country. The students love listening to her speak about American history and take pride in reciting important historical documents,” said Principal Larry Carlson. “Mrs. Fulp is truly a special person with a gift of influencing our youth. She is a strong Christian woman that commands respect. Our school, our district, and our community are very fortunate that Mrs. Fulp is here. She will be extremely hard to replace when she decides to retire. I tell folks all the time that I wish she was one of my teachers growing up. The level of impact she has on students is immeasurable".

The tactics employed by Mrs. Fulp and Principal Carlson, are remarkable. During the VFW lesson, the students were well-behaved, and showed a keen interest in the program. The 5th graders even sang a song about the Presidents.

Ms. Fulp has been announced as the VFW Post 12223, Teacher of the Year. Post Commander, Foy day, has already informed the school that the VFW will be going back to New Waverly in early March, to teach about the POW/MIA Table set-up.

Ruben can be reached at:

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