Students honor, veterans educate at Forest Hills Central salute

Veterans Voices

ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — In the main hallway of Forest Hills Central High School is a wall honoring graduates who have served in the military, including a touchscreen that tells their stories. This Veterans Day, students were able to put a voice with some of those pictures.

U.S. Navy veteran Bill Boike, who graduated from Forest Hills Central in 1981, was among the veterans who returned for the school’s annual Veterans Day Salute on Thursday.

“Our ship was involved in the Libya operations. ‘The Line of Death,’ Gulf of Sidra deal,” Boike said.

One of the students he shared his story with was his nephew. Mac Boike knew a little bit about his uncle Bill’s service to the country.

“I know he was a Navy member. I didn’t know what ship he was actually on,” Mac Boike, a senior at Forest Hills Central, said.

Bill Boike was aboard the USS Ticonderoga. The guided missile cruiser’s technology ushered in a new era for the Navy.

“The weapons system, the radar system was state-of-the-art, well advanced,” Boike said.

His nephew said the one-on-one led to a new understanding and a new appreciation for his uncle’s service.

“I learned the stories of not just this veteran, but of all the veterans here to today and all of the experiences they went through,” he said.

Efforts to educate students on the importance of veterans go well beyond Thursday’s ceremonies. The names of over 300 Forest Hills Central graduates who served appear on the veterans wall, including five who didn’t come home.

“When you look at that and some of them were 20, 21, 22, it really brings it home,” history teacher Steve Labenz said. “I think it’s important for (students) to realize this is the ultimate sacrifice.”

While Thursday’s salute was set aside to honor those who served, the stories they shared were also meant to inspire the students.

“What they bring to our country; they bring so much leadership because of what they’ve done,” Mac Boike said. “They’ve served for our country. They protected us. They are some of the most noble people that we can know and learn from.”

If you know of a Forest Hills graduate who should be on the wall, the school would like to hear from you. You can reach the school at 616.493.8700.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Stories On WOODTV.com

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links