Students and staff recently recognized that the fairly new Eastport South Manor Junior-Senior High School building lacked a fitting memorial to the community's veterans and military enlistees.
They worked for more than a year to raise nearly $60,000 to build a Wall of Honor to recognize graduates who serve in the armed forces. Construction is set to begin Tuesday.
Members of the school's National Junior Honor Society thought of creating the wall about the time administrators were discussing a similar proposal.
"They came to me and said, 'We have so many activities based on sports and musical awards and what about our graduates who are serving?' " said Barbara McCoy, an English teacher and adviser to the group. "I put it out to them to brainstorm."
A committee of students, guided by staff, solicited donations from schoolmates, local businesses and community groups. Student musicians held a patriotic concert in June to raise funds, Principal Joseph Steimel said.
The students helped choose the design and find the company to construct the wall in the 10-year-old school. The district has collected about 41 names that will be inscribed on the wall and is looking for more.
For student organizer Chelsea Anderson, 17, the effort was personal. "I have a brother in the Army," the senior said. "We wanted to find a way to honor the graduates here."
The 20-foot-long wall, which features the phrase "Home of the Free Because of the Brave," will be off the rotunda inside the school.
Math teacher Patty Cruz, whose son served in the Marines, said, "This is something fairly common in high schools and it was time to get it done."
A formal dedication is to take place this year.