Portsmouth Christian Academy Honors America’s Veterans

DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE (November 13, 2020) – Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) honored America’s veterans this week in its annual Veteran’s Day Chapel, presented both in-person for students and virtually for the broader community. 

PCA holds its Veteran’s Day Chapel services each year to honor those who have served our country, including the 79 veterans within the school community, 11 of whom are actively serving. 

After giving an opening prayer, Head of School, Mike Runey explained the purpose and importance of the day’s chapel event, “Today is an opportunity to honor those who have served, are serving, and who will serve, but it’s also to welcome our veterans into our communities.” Runey himself is a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Army, previously a Colonel serving as Chief of Army Concepts Division in Fort Eustis, Virginia before coming to PCA as Head of School. 

The program continued with the presentation of the color guard followed by students leading the pledge of allegiance and introductions. In a pre-recorded segment, the Junior High Chorus then led the school in singing the national anthem, followed by the Upper School Symphony Orchestra playing Armed Forces on Parade which features each military branch’s song. 

Lt. Col. Stephanie Kerrigan was then welcomed on stage as the event’s guest speaker. Kerrigan currently serves in the United States Air Force as the 235th Civil Engineer Flight A4CX branch chief, supporting the Air Force in the development of policy and doctrine at her headquarters. Her military career began ten days after September 11th, 2001 when she was commissioned as a second lieutenant following her completion at the Academy of Military Service. Within a year, she was deployed to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar where she supported the construction of the Combined Air Operations Center, a key facility needed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During her career, she served as the commander of the 157th Civil engineer squadron and oversaw multiple design and construction projects for key facilities. 

Kerrigan’s impressive contributions to the U.S. Air Force were front and center as she took the stage, but she was quick to point out her other significant life roles of mom, wife of a United States veteran, and a member of the PCA community.  

Kerrigan opened her remarks, saying, “What I want to talk to you about today—both students and grown-ups—are the things that I learned in the military that you can learn from, too.” Kerrigan proceeded to share vignettes from her military career that impacted her and made her “a better officer and a better person.” Through her stories, she shared what it means to serve, what courage is, and the importance of the people in your life.

The program concluded with the Upper School Voices performance of America the Beautiful followed by the retiring of the color guard, a moment of silence and Taps, all performed by PCA students. Finally Head of School, Mike Runey, closed with a word of encouragement to the students in the room: “I pray that you continue to reflect on what it means to not only serve this country but also to serve and follow after Christ. That’s what we really hope you will choose to do, with courage and taking care of others as you go.” 

The full recording of the Veteran’s Day chapel can be found here.  

Portsmouth Christian Academy has been inspiring students on the Seacoast to maximize their God-given potential for over forty years. PCA provides a nurturing educational environment that emphasizes Christ-centered community, outstanding academics, differentiated learning, and exceptional character. Located just minutes northwest of Portsmouth, NH on a beautiful fifty-acre riverfront campus, PCA is a dually accredited, independent, college-preparatory, day school where young people from Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire in Preschool through Grade 12 are challenged to thrive academically and grow as servant-leaders prepared to impact the world for good. For more information, fill out the form below.