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Middleton Times-Tribune
Middleton-Cross Plains Area School Dist.

School News

Vietnam veteran Skaife speaks to Glacier students

Glacier Creek eighth-graders received valuable history and life lessons recently. John Skaife, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Bloomington, Wis., talked to more than 70 students in three sections of Tom Moss health class about his experiences. Skaife and Moss father were members of the same American Legion troop. I have known John my entire life, said Moss, who also said his sister and one of Skaifes daughters were in the same grade in school. Moss thought it would be beneficial for the students to learn about basic training, war time and the mental, emotional and physical aspects of being a soldier. For not being a professional presenter, I thought John was very open and honest in his message to students, said Moss, in his first year at Glacier Creek. He stressed to work hard, to control your anger and emotions and that your attitude and the way you approach life is everything. Skaife, 64, talked to the classes for more than 30 minutes before taking questions. He talked about joining the army in 1968 and how he was sent to an island after basic training to get ready for Vietnam. The students seemed quite surprised to learn he ate iguana, snakes and worms, which he said tasted like potato chips when fried. You learn to survive, he said. A good friend of his died on the same night he was wounded in combat. Skaife said he was shot in both legs and the left leg was in pretty bad shape. I thought I was a goner, he said. He wasnt rescued until the next morning. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital, which was bombed that same night. The nurses took us out and put us under a bunk, said Skaife, who later received a Purple Heart. I believe the only nurse ever killed in combat in Vietnam happened that night. She was a hero in my book. Skaife admitted he had some difficulty adjusting to life when he returned to the United States. Protestors called us names and threw things at us, he said. I figured I was fighting for our country, right or wrong. When they treated us that way, it really burned me and made me angry. We were worse than dirt. You wonder why a Vietnam veteran is angry, its not from being over there but the way we were treated. Skaife shared a phone conversation he had with his girlfriend at the time. She told him everything was set for Dec. 27. He asked what was going on Dec. 27 and she said their wedding. He told the class he didnt even remember asking her to marry him. John and Carol have been married for 43 years and have two daughters. There were some lighter moments, too. He explained that everyone had a nickname. His nickname was Sam. Nobody went by a regular name, he said. I couldnt even look up some of the guys today because I didnt know their real names.

Photo contributed

John Skaife with Tom Moss. Skaife owned and operated Johns Auto Body Shop in Bloomington for nearly 30 years before health issues forced him to retire. He now works as a tour guide for WARCO Transportation. Skaife admitted he had never talked to a class before. Moss was thrilled with his presentation. This isnt a normal guy talking to children, Moss said. He has a message. He has gone through the hard times of being a veteran. He has brought his experiences to show you why you need to respect and show courtesy to veterans and other people in general. It is a great testament to how he has made great progress in his life personally and what he is able to do for others. To me, Mr. Skaife is a hero, not only a friend, but a teacher of life.

Strong start for Middleton High School DECA competitors

Twenty-three Middleton High School DECA members competed at the UW-Whitewater Mini-Conference on Saturday. The students performed role-plays based on situations they would encounter if they had a job in marketing and took a multiple choice test based on marketing concepts. The mini-conference is a workshop designed to give students experience with competitions, MHS DECA adviser Robert Hutchison said. The first official DECA competition is Districts in January. I like to bring students to this conference because it gives them an idea of what to expect at Districts. For students who havent competed before, its a great way to give them experience presenting before a judge. For those who have competed before, its a great way for them to fine tune their presentation skills. The students who finished first, second, and third in each event were awarded medals. Students only compete against other members from their school. The student from each school that finishes with the highest number of points is named the series champion from that school. The series champion from MHS was Andrea Green because of her outstanding performance on all of her events. Medal winners included Green, Kate Degler, Tristan Freides, Fiona Ljumani, Marissa Nelson, Stephanie Reiss, Madeline Guyette, Randy Perez, Abby Hudson, and Kirsten Oliver.

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Pictured from left to right: (first row) Seeham Bnyat and Leah Meylor; (second row) Jocylyn Tiedt, Andrea Green, Leah Krbecek, Kate Delger, Abby Hudson, Kirsten Oliver, Madeline Guyette, Jonathon Brandenberg, and Parker Johnson; (third row) Natalie Grande, Fiona Ljumani, Marissa Nelson, Randy Perez, Sophia Lahmers, Stephanie Reiss, Ivraj Seerha, Tristan Freides, Lexi Caamal, Taylor Norton, Megan Norton and Akash Pattnaik.

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