Rubidoux's 2018 seniors sought a gift for their alma mater that would endure, inspire,
By creating a veterans memorial wall, they delivered one.
The tribute, near the administration office and main quad, features a bronze plaque for each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard – with the phrase "All gave some – some gave all."
The memorial was dedicated to Rubidoux veterans at a campus ceremony on Friday, Nov. 9, to coincide with Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.
"This senior gift is special because it connects the students to something bigger than themselves," said Brett Roble, U.S. history teacher and senior class adviser at RHS. "It's more than just a beautiful addition to campus; it's something that speaks to the community."
At the ceremony, a series of students spoke about the memorial and those it honors.
"We realized that Rubidoux High School has strong connections to the military community, and we had the opportunity to say thank you in this small way," said Jawon Hampton, representing the Class of 2018. "This memorial wall is here to honor every Rubidoux alumni veteran, who chose to put their life on the line for their country, their community, and for Rubidoux High School."
Said Mr. Roble of the ceremony: "It was a beautiful collaboration between a diverse group of students, clubs, band, choir, AFJROTC and video production."
Teamwork also got the memorial done: Seniors had fundraising money left over to spend on a gift to the campus; Mr. Roble and his colleagues brainstormed ways to make the legacy special; and the district's Maintenance & Operations division spent two summer weeks making the tribute – literally – concrete.
The idea derived from a conversation with history teacher George Monge, a veteran who noted the campus once had featured a memorial for veterans, said Mr. Roble. From there, Mr. Roble researched military tributes, priced materials and designed some concepts for the seniors to consider.
They loved the idea, he said.
So did the JUSD Maintenance & Operations crew, said Dana Toland, Director of Maintenance & Operations.
"The M&O workers often do jobs similar to this in regard to construction, but this, as a symbol honoring those who have served our country, holds a special place," he said of the tribute wall, which measures 4 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 1 foot thick. "Many of the M&O staff are former military members, so it was a great pleasure, assisting the senior class in honoring something so close to their heart."
Today, RHS has 55 cadets in the JROTC program, according to Mark McLouth, a retired Air Force Major and instructor with the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Rubidoux High.
"JROTC is focused on citizenship based upon military pillars of respect, honor, followership and leadership," Maj. McLouth said. The cadets attend community events, support civic groups and volunteer for programs honoring veterans.
Maj. McLouth also praised the RHS video production students who honed their real-world skills in recording and streaming the dedication ceremony.
Going forward, the campus memorial will help all Rubidoux students learn about history, community and veterans, educators said. The school is already planning an event in February, when veterans will visit RHS for a living history lesson.
"Our goal is to connect our students with these local heroes and make the human connection to their history curriculum," Mr. Roble said. "We would love to hear from anyone interested in being a part of it."
The teacher also expressed pride in students' preparation, diligence and responsibility in conducting the dedication ceremony – a good example of learning without limits.
Student Ivan Rolon, in his speech, relayed a quote that applies to all members and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces: "As Ronald Reagan once said, 'Some people spend their life wondering if they made a difference. Marines don't have that problem.' "
Neither does the RHS Class of 2018.