Though St. James usually tasks the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Ladies VFW Auxiliary, the American Legion, or the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary with finding an appropriate speaker for their Veterans Day ceremony, the school has tabbed one of their own to be the featured speaker this year. Prior to inhabiting his current position as a math teacher for the school, Thomas Cooper served on active duty as a communications officer for 22 years in the U.S. Army, retiring in 2009 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. “When you're growing up, you hope to make a difference,” he said. “That's why I joined the military, and that's why I became a teacher.” “He is an excellent teacher,” said Heather Spitzner, and administrative assistant responsible for coordinating the program. “He has so much respect with those kids.” For the full story, see Thursday's print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.