KADENA AIR BASE, OKINAWA, JAPAN
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa, Japan – Take 667 elementary students, 98 staff members then mix in 15 highly motivated U.S. Army soldiers and you get smiles, laughter and a unique learning experience for both students and soldiers. On Nov. 20, soldiers with the 10th Regional Support Group spent the entire day at Bob Hope Primary School on Kadena Air Base as part of a weeklong program designed to gain knowledge and appreciation for the value of education.
Bob Hope Primary School enrolls close to 700 children in grades kindergarten through second grade, and is one of several schools in the Pacific which serves strictly young children. Soldiers assigned to the 10th RSG agreed to adopt Bob Hope Primary School as their partnership school and is planning to visit the school quarterly to assist with various projects as well as read and have fun with the students.
Sgt. First Class Saudi Plowdeniz, and Sgt. Jamara Ross, support operations and maintenance noncommissioned officers for the10th RSG shared their thoughts and reaction to working with children throughout the day.
“Being introduced at first grade to music and incorporating math into the lesson is unique,” said Ross. “In fact, I did not even learn music until the 5th grade.”
“The differences I noticed were how younger students learn using real world examples,” added Plowdeniz. “When I was in school we memorized formulas, grammar, etc. I was excited to see students today learn by incorporating a bit of common sense with academics. I noticed that using this approach worked and how fast these young students were catching on. I could tell they got it.”
During the day, soldiers had the opportunity to visit various classrooms interacting with kindergartners, first and second graders. Duties assigned included, general administration, reading, poster board design, athletics and music. Amber Galland a preschool school teacher who works with children that have disabilities indicated her enthusiasm by having soldiers spend time with students.
“The students were very excited to have visitors especially soldiers come into the classroom,” said Galland. “We had students step up and initiate conversations because they were excited and wanted to participate and have fun. I think this is a wonderful program and I encourage the Army to continue this initiative as it brings the school, staff and students together.”
The 92nd annual American Education Week ran from Nov. 18–22 and is another reason soldiers assigned to 10th RSG started their partnership with Bob Hope Elementary this week. The theme for AEW was, “Raise Your Hand for Student Success,” and highlights the importance of bringing together educators, soldiers, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great educational opportunities.
A Chinese proverb says that, "Learning is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere." This statement was echoed during the first day of the week as well when soldiers were given a brief regarding the U.S. Army Tuition Assistance Program. This program is designed to provide soldiers with a quality education anywhere, anytime, for classroom and distant learning.
“It allows soldiers to manage their education records including college classes, testing, on-duty classes and Army Education Counselor support,” said 1st Sgt. Raymond Quituqua, who hails from Sinajana, Guam and is the first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th RSG. “There is a higher purpose to the TA program that requires soldiers, with the help of senior leaders and community members, to discover the personal power of learning as they ponder the connection learning has with life and the goals, hopes, dreams, and aspirations they have set for themselves.”
For additional information please on the upcoming changes taking effect to the TA program on Jan. 1st go to: www.GoArmyEd.com
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This work, US Army soldiers in Japan Support American Education Week, by Charles Steitz, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.