BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Bend High School will host a special dedication ceremony next Thursday for the school’s new Robert D. Maxwell Center as part of the school’s Veterans Day events.
Veterans from throughout the community have been invited to attend the event along with students and staff to honor Maxwell, who taught automotive at Bend High and received the Medal of Honor for his World War II service.
Veterans Day events also include an interactive student assembly, with the awarding of an honorary high school diploma to a veteran, the unveiling of a new monument to Maxwell and a flyover by military aircraft.
“We wanted to do everything in recognition of this year’s Veterans Day to honor the extraordinary contributions that Robert Maxwell made to our school, the wider community and to our country,” said Principal Christopher Reese. “His character stands the test of time. He was a phenomenal teacher and man. It was truly an honor to know Bob Maxwell and all that he stood for.”
Reese says staff, students and veterans in the community are excited about the opportunity. Events include a school-wide assembly during which veteran Jerry Kirkpatrick will receive a high school diploma. The crowd will then proceed to the Maxwell Center, where there will be a short dedication ceremony that includes the unveiling of a new monument to Maxwell. The event will end with a military aircraft flyover.
The Maxwell Center, which was part of the Bend-La Pine Schools 2017 construction bond, opened to students in September. The building, which sits roughly where Maxwell taught automotive classes for decades, includes a large multipurpose room and four classrooms. It is part of the first phase of the master plan outlined for the school.
Maxwell, often referred to as the most decorated veteran in Oregon history, left school during the Dust Bowl days of the Great Depression and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for selflessly falling on a German grenade during the war, saving the lives of those around him.
After the war, Maxwell taught automotive at Bend Senior High School and Central Oregon College. He received an official Oregon Standard Diploma from Bend High School in 2011, at the age of 91.
Maxwell was the nation’s oldest recipient of the Medal of Honor when he died in May 2019 in Bend at age 98.