FORT BLISS, Texas - Three soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, volunteered to help judge a student science fair Feb. 16 at Milam Elementary School on Fort Bliss.
Staff Sgt. Damian Maldonado, supply sergeant, and Spc. Matt Dutcher, paralegal, both assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and Sgt. Derek Taylor, paralegal, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, spent their Thursday morning helping grade and judge a wide variety of science projects from 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students at Milam.
During the event, students offered a brief presentation to the judges, who then awarded up to 25-points for experimental procedures, effectiveness of analysis, relevance to real-world applications, and other grading criteria.
“I love it that they come out here and were willing to be a part of this,” said Cristina Mireles, a 5th-grade science teacher at the school.
“They were all very nice,” she said. “They came in wanting to talk to the students.”
Growing up in a military family, Dutcher has always felt that servicemembers should be held to a higher standard and support the community in a collaborative way.
“It’s not just the community supporting the military,” said Dutcher.
By reaching out to the local community, Soldiers can not only help make a difference but also find personal satisfaction as well, he said.
“I had a great time out here, it was fun,” he said. “It was pretty educational and the kids were excited about it.”
All students who took part in the science fair were awarded ribbons for their participation and hard work. Winners in each grade-level will be presented with a medal at the end of the academic year.