Gautier High School parade honors our veterans

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While we still have a little less than a week before our entire nation pauses to honor those who have served to protect and defend our country, Gautier High School got a head start on showing appreciation and paying homage to our veterans.

Patriotism filled the air, a sea of red, white, and blue, and a time to reflect on those who have sacrificed and served to secure, protect, and defend the freedoms we all enjoy today as Gautier High School’s parade honoring our veterans rolled down the street on Thursday. Gautier High student Dewan Johnson said, “Freedom isn’t free. Without them there wouldn’t be freedom. I just came out here today to celebrate them.”

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Hundreds of students and teachers lined the parade route at Gautier High School to give an early salute to our veterans.

With Veterans Day just around the corner, the school’s Navy JROTC stood at attention to pay homage, alongside their instructor Senior Chief Stanley Weaver, a veteran who served 22 years in the military before taking on a new mission here: grooming our leaders of tomorrow and leading by example today. “That’s what it’s all about. There are a lot of men and women who are no longer here. There are a lot of men and women who were able to make it back from wars. We wouldn’t be where we are, and I wouldn’t be where I am right now without those men and women who paved the way with their patriotism. I’m just giving back, and that’s my job to do. I’m blessed to be here to hopefully to help mold some young man or young lady to join the military and keep going forward and going forth and keep the tradition going.”

Gautier High School’s Navy JROTC Master Chief Adam Cole has signed up to join the United States Army and will head out for basic training when he graduates next year, but on this day the focus is on those who blazed the path before him. “It’s important because the veterans like to see the young folks out there showing their support and thanks for all the service that they did back then.”

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned....