PALS raise flags and spirits at RMS
Garfield Re-2 Director of Communications
About 7:20 a.m. the morning rays of light hit Rifle Middle School at the perfect angle. The sky is bright, and the temperatures are cool. As the morning sun begins to peak over the City of Rifle, the Rifle Middle School PALS are raising the flag to welcome students to school.
PALS stands for Provide Assistance Leadership and Service and is a program that many of the RMS eighth graders participate in. The student-led jobs include jobs like helping new students find their way around school, opening doors in the morning and welcoming students, and raising and taking down the flag daily.
“I put up the flag every morning because it is a great symbol of our country,” said eighth grader Makenzie Cagle. “It is the favorite part of my day. It makes me feel happy because at this time of the morning, once we raise the flag, a small breeze usually puts just a little wave in it. That’s cool.”
Rifle Middle School Head-Custodian Vernon Snead took time to show all of the PALS the proper way to raise and lower the flag including the proper way to fold the flag at the end of the day for proper storage.
“I told them that raising and lowering the flag is an honor and should be treated with respect,” said Snead. “I think it is a great thing that RMS does to include the kids in the process. It instills pride in the flag, the country and in our school.”
One of the things that Mr. Snead shared that stuck with Makenzie is the significance of having the flag at half-staff vs. full-staff.
“When the flag is at full-staff it makes me happy, because if we had to stop it at half-staff, that would mean there was some sort of tragedy,” she explained.
In the evening, a different set of students lowers the flag and executes all 13 folds to properly stored for the evening. According to the American Legion, each fold has a meaning, and at the end of the process, it should be a neat triangle with “the appearance of a cocked hat” to remind us of the soldiers that have served in all branches of the military.
With just over one week of school under their belts, the PALS have settled into their routines and are supporting their school with leadership and service.