Mr. Pope Leaves Behind A Legacy We Will Remember


Courtesy of Marcus Lopez

Murmurs and an aura of respect filled the room with students listening to various veterans telling their stories. Students and veterans both greatly benefited from this event. The veterans benefited because they were able to tell their stories and for students to learn about the ones that have protected our freedoms.

Murmurs and an aura of respect filled the room with students listening to veterans telling their personal stories. Don Lugo’s 9th annual “We Remember” event was a very impacting experience for many students, veterans and Mr. Pope, considering he is leaving the “We Remember” club and retiring after next school year. Ms. Ragsdale, who was one of the founders of the “We Remember” event, stated, “From the very beginning, [We Remember] was meant for our high school students to understand the sacrifices men and women have made for our freedoms.”

Mr. Pope and Ms. Ragsdale first got the inspiration to create this program when students would display interest in Mr. Pope’s time in the military, so they adopted this program from Martin Luther King High School in Riverside. Ashley Figueroa, president of the “We Remember” club,  composed a speech for Mr. Pope, thanking him for creating this event and that it will still go on after Mr. Pope retires.

In my second year doing this, there was a very ‘teary-eyed’ Vietnam veteran and he said, “thank you, this is the first time since I’ve been back from Vietnam that anyone has ever said thank you.””

— Ms. Ragsdale

Mrs. Bristow, a history teacher from Don Lugo, shared how she looked forward to the event due to the fact that each junior class is always praised after the event for their respectful qualities. She believes that this is a heartening event because it is similar to “story time,” but it is a military version of it. This event allows the students to obtain a different perspective on the material they learn in their U.S. history classes because it can be seen as more interesting and relatable.

After the event, LTC Eugene D. Rossel shared how he believed that this program has always been a great and well-organized event in the three years he has attended, on account of Mr. Pope. It excites LTC Rossel to see the children, and potential soldiers, interact with the veterans. Anthony Benavidez and SGT. Briseno, veterans who were in attendance, agreed with Rossel and expressed on how they believed this event was well-organized.

One of the few critiques that were made after “We Remember” was made by a wife of a veteran, “Students should have stood during “taps” in respect for the fallen.” Although this is Mr. Pope’s last year running the program, his legacy will live on through Mrs. Marchand, who will be in charge of “We Remember” and who will continue to improve it for the future. Mr. Pope intends on attending the event as a veteran and supporter in the coming years.