Elementary music teacher Veronica Baker Hatton, ’98, was motivated to teach her students about patriotism following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. To commemorate Veterans Day that year, Hatton organized a concert to honor veterans in St. Charles, Mo., where she teaches at Harris Elementary School.
“Each year since 2001, we have put on a Veterans Day assembly,” Hatton said. “Students invite any veterans they know. We designate each grade of students to sing one of the five Armed Forces songs, as well as other patriotic songs.”
Last year, Hatton’s son, Chase, a kindergartner at the school, attended the concert with her father-in-law, a Vietnam veteran. He was one of nearly 90 veterans honored at the event.
“It was important to me and my kids,” said Hatton, noting that her father-in-law had never been publicly thanked for his service.
Hatton’s efforts to instill patriotism in her students did not go unnoticed. Her principal and other co-workers nominated her for the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ National Citizenship Education Teachers’ Award in 2008. She was one of three Missouri teachers to receive the award, and was honored at the VFW statewide banquet in 2009.
Hatton lives in Foley, Mo., with her husband Alan and sons Chase and Hank.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education from MSU in 1998, and has been teaching general music classes at Harris Elementary since 1999.
In 2008, she received a master’s in reading education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles.
Hatton’s memories of Missouri State include her family. While attending MSU, Hatton played the clarinet with the Pride Marching Band and the University Wind Ensemble. During those years, her parents, Bill Baker and Connie Renner, prepared meals for the Pride during summer band camps and the Ozarko Invitational Marching Band Festival. The couple has continued that tradition for more than 15 years.
“My parents became inspired because the students never complain and love what they do.”