News: Carver Elementary Welcome Real-Life Avengers
Story by Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano
YUMA, Ariz. - In an effort to foster greater relations with the local community, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma’s Marine Attack Squadron 211 formally adopted George Washington Carver Elementary School, Jan. 8.
Carver’s principal and VMA-211 squadron representatives met at the schoolhouse to hash out some of the details of what both sides consider to be the start of a bright and enduring relationship.
“We were looking for outreach programs for the squadron to be able to support the community,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Cayer, VMA-211’s sergeant major and a native of Alexandria, La. “Lt. Col. Pehrson, our commanding officer, had done this with 214, so he brought this idea up to us to get out here and help.”
Plans for the squadron to take Carver under its wing have been in motion since early December. With a student populace of around 460 kids, the schoolhouse is eager to kick-start the Avengers’ support.
“We’re hoping to provide some mentorship to the children, but we’re also looking to enable our Marines to reach out, touch the community and get to know what Yuma’s about,” said Cayer. “Being role models and inspirations for the kids and letting them know that we’re in support of them.”
This is the third adoption of a school by an MCAS based unit. In the summer of 2012, Marine Attack Squadron 214 adopted McGraw elementary and, in the fall of 2012, Marine Attack Squadron 311 adopted Desert View Academy.
“The adopt a school program has been very well-received at those schools,” said Elena McShane, MCAS Yuma’s school liaison and a native of San Jose, Calif. “The teachers, the administration, the parents love the Marines – And, of course, the children love interacting with them on the playground and in the classroom as well.”
For Carver elementary, the opportunity to have the kids being tutored and influenced by today’s Marines is received with great enthusiasm and anticipation.
“The students will have a first hand and unique relationship with our local Marine base. They’ll get a chance to learn from yet another adult, another role model,” said Deb Drysdale, Carver Elementary school principal and a native of Yuma, AZ. “The community will also see it and know that the Marines – They’ve got our backs.”
Primarily, Carver hopes to up mathematics test scores through their supplementary math program. The Math Achievement Club-Rodel (MAC-Ro) model helps improve results by providing booklets and workshops for students to help better their individual skills. The Marines will be utilizing in-class support to help guide those who may be struggling with their numbers.
“Sometimes the kids aren’t getting that support at home,” said McShane. “So, the principal is hoping the Marines will be a motivating factor for them to continue in their studies and understand that math is important.”
On Jan. 11, the first wave of Avengers arrived to volunteer at the schoolhouse. The children and Marines were introduced at the library, where tutoring and mentorship got underway. The pair of Marines worked with a rotating shift of students, two at a time, to work on their MAC-Ro booklets. Each session lasted about 20 to 30 minutes, with the students being helped by an each Marine.
“I hope they get more confident with what they’re learning,” said Cpl. Christopher Alfaro, a VMA-211 embarkation specialist and a native of Lake Orion, Mich. “The more confident they are, the better they’ll learn.”
For Marines at VMA-211, 2013 brings with it at least 463 new members to the squadron family. By adopting Carver elementary, the Wake Island Avengers are making sure the time invested in the future of our generation is not left solely in the hands of the internet or television.