News: School opening shows more signs of success
AL KHANIK, Iraq — After joint efforts from both U.S. Army and Iraqi officials, a new school officially opened during a ceremony, March 2, in the village of Al Khanik, Iraq.
The school, which has been under construction for four months, was built with the village's future in mind and to house the students in the growing community.
"The old school had only three classrooms, said Arif Jabbar Mutar, the chairman of Tikrit City Council. "It's not enough to absorb all students from the village."
With six classrooms, working latrines and two rooms for the teachers, this school will pave the way toward education. The new school has enough room to house 200, 6-to-12-year-old students and their teachers.
"We are so happy because we're going to lead these kids to their right future," said Khaled Hamad Yassin, the school's headmaster. "We have to build their future. Education is very important for every single student over here. They have to understand, they have to learn, and they have to read. At this school, we can provide a better education and better future for the students. The success will have a higher percentage here than the old school."
The ceremony included U.S. Army guests Lt. Col. Nora Marcos and Command Sgt. Maj. Byron Loyd, the Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division commander and command sergeant major.
The ceremony began with a formal ribbon cutting, signaling the school's grand opening, which was eagerly met with joyous applause. Guests then moved back to their seats and listened as the 3ID Band played Iraq's national anthem, while school children raised the Iraqi flag.
Following the raising of the flag, children performed various forms of entertainment, such as poems, songs and religious prayers, all met with great applause from the crowd.
Yassin, the headmaster, stood in front of the crowd and spoke words of encouragement for a brighter future for the children and for Iraq.
"The future will be very bright," he said. "If the kids can have an education, the country will be very educated and have a much better future."
Marcos echoed the headmaster.
"I just want to say what an honor it is to be here with you at the opening of this school," she said. "Congratulations to the engineers and builders, who created this wonderful place, and I thank the provincial government for their support in this project."
After the ceremony, Marcos took some time to make her way around the courtyard, speaking to guests and school children. Along with a crowd of eager children, she made her way around the new school to see the new classrooms. As soon as the children saw their new desks, coloring books and crayons they rushed toward them. Taking their seats for the first time in their new classrooms, Marcos joined the children at their desks and posed for a few photos.
"As the inspectors came during the building process, they said they've never seen something built so well, so quickly," said Marcos.
The last stop on the tour included a room where some of the women and their children congregated.
"It really bridges a gap with these kids to see Soldiers here, giving and being a part of this," she said. "It's these ladies, who are teachers, seeing Soldiers helping and seeing a female involved ... makes a difference."
For Marcos though, this ceremony is a revisit to a book, she read when she first arrived here in Iraq.
"It's about a guy who helped build schools in Pakistan and how the construction of schools and the education of children bridged cultural and religious gaps," she said. She relates the book to the current situation here in Iraq and at the ceremony.
"That's what we did here and will continue to do with every project and most importantly, every partnering opportunity we have with the Iraqis. We're allowing the Iraqis to take the lead and develop some answers to their issues and put them forward where they should be."
Date Posted:03.04.2010 01:29
Location:AL KHANIK, IQ
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