In a special Veterans Day ceremony, Belmont Hill paid tribute to veterans in a moving way.
Greg Schneider, Ronald M. Druker ’62 Head of School, introduced the morning by noting that this is a day, “where we take the time to celebrate and honor those who make our freedoms in this country possible. Each year I am reminded on this day of all that we have to be grateful for, and we gather today to pause and reflect upon this reality together.”
The next part of the morning featured a look at the Kenney Legacy World War II trip. Charlie Kenney ‘06 arrived at Belmont Hill in 1999 and would become a talented three-sport athlete, a Woodbury Prize recipient in public speaking, and a young man devoted to serving the school he loved.
After graduating from Belmont Hill in 2006, he would go on to Brown University. Charlie felt a strong calling of service to his country and enrolled in the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. As an officer, he earned the respect of his peers and demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities. Then, tragedy struck in 2012, as Charlie suffered a seizure and passed away suddenly, just before his scheduled deployment to Afghanistan.
Fortunately, Charlie's parents, Charles Kenney and Anne Detmer, are actively involved in the Belmont Hill community. In 2013, the Charles F. Kenney '06 Prize was established by classmates, family, faculty, and friends to honor his memory. Just three years ago, the Kenney's proposed a trip to World War II sights in England, Belgium, and France, with particular emphasis on Normandy. The Kenney Legacy World War II trip supports two faculty members and students. The hope is that the students will learn more about World War II, and gain a greater appreciation of the tremendous sacrifices made.
Each of the boys from last year’s trip, Gage McWeeny, Max Peterson, Preston Adams, and Quinn Richards spoke poignantly about their impressions and insights during the trip.
Then it was time for the morning’s keynote speaker to take the podium. Following college, Commander David Schopler applied and was accepted to the Peace Corps, and spent the next two years living and working in the Philippines. In 1999, he returned stateside and began Officer Candidate School with the U.S. Navy. Upon completion of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, Commander Schopler spent the next 12 years in Naval Special Operations, operating in a variety of locations.
In 2011, he transferred from active to reserve duty. He spoke with several Belmont Hill students via video link from Baghdad in 2017, in the midst of a 9-month tour as a reserve officer in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. As a civilian, Commander Schopler works for Neptune, a strategic management consulting firm headquartered in Washington, DC. He lives in Annapolis with Liesel, his wife, and four children. Commander Schopler shared some of his story and explored the notion of service and the many forms it can take.