News: ‘Proud Americans’ participate in local school groundbreaking ceremony
Story by Sgt. Shantelle Campbell
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Two soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, participated in Woodrow Wilson Elementary School’s Groundbreaking ceremony, Nov. 22.
The ceremony, which was held at the school’s playground, was a way to kick off a new beginning and to thank everyone involved in planning for renovations that will result in safer facilities for the students and teachers at the school.
The ceremony “is an opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate and kick off all of the hard work and the planning that’s gone into getting everything into place,” said “Wolves” principal Eric Koppes.
The participation of the “Proud Americans” battalion in the ceremony was due to the partnership the unit established with the school through Fort Riley’s Adopt-A-School program, an initiative created to help build better communities.
This ceremony “is a very significant event in that it’s the foundation of the partnership that has just recently re-started since we’ve come back from our deployment to Iraq,” said Maj. Josef Hatch, the operations officer with the Proud Americans battalion.
The Adopt-A-School program “allows us to become a permanent part of this school and this community,” added the Kingman, Ariz., native.
During the ceremony, students and teachers of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School looked on and cheered as 19 “stakeholders” in the Wolves education pierced the ground with gold shovels.
First Lt. Joseph Tiberio, a father of a student at the school and the battalion chemical officer for 2-32 FAR, said that he was proud to be a part of the groundbreaking ceremony and to have a partnership with the school.
The partnership “helps the community; it helps us form a better understanding and it also helps for (my daughter) to see me because for her first year at this school, I was deployed,” said the Orangepark, Fla., native.
Before returning to their classrooms, the students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School ended the ceremony in perfect harmony as they sung their school’s song.