Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point --
Marines from Cherry Point’s Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 28 volunteered through the Adopt-A-School program at Havelock’s Roger Bell Elementary School, March 11.
The adoption program provides units the opportunity to partner with a local school. Unit involvement includes mentoring, reading, guest speaking and a variety of other activities.
“This is our first time doing a mentorship program with a school,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jorge E. Currillo, a tactical air control center chief with MTACS-28. “Marines train and deploy constantly, but I think it’s important to remember to get out there and help our local community.”
Following a lunch with the students, the Marine volunteers visited the students’ classrooms and introduced themselves. About a dozen Marines volunteered for the school adoption program.
“Marines in my squadron volunteered to come out here and motivate the kids,” said Currillo. “I think it’s a good opportunity for the Marines to be leaders and set good examples.”
The Marines read books with the students and talked about the jobs they perform each day.
“It’s really good to get out and interact with the community,” said Cpl. James M. Brown, a motor transport technician with MTACS-28. “If I can help the kids, even just by talking to them, then it’s worth it.”
The Marines said they plan to continue to visit the school once a week to mentor and tutor the students.
“It was really cool meeting a Marine,” said Davonta George, a fourth-grade student at Roger Bell Elementary School. “I want to be a Marine when I grow up.”
The principal of Roger Bell Elementary School spoke to the Marines following their visit to the school.
“The children look at the Marines like they’re superheroes and we want them to have good role models,” said Dr. Paul Gainey, the school’s principal.
“The biggest gift you can give the children is your time,” added Gainey. “The Marines are doing an amazing service for the children.”
“Through Adopt-A-School activities, our military gains a feeling of connectivity, a sense of accomplishment and pride that goes along with sharing knowledge and experience,” said Donna Bagley, the air station’s school liaison. “This could be a life-changing experience for the children and Marines.”
The school liaison provides a link between Cherry Point units and local schools, Bagley explained. She said there are currently more than ten units volunteering in local schools.
For more information about Adopt-A-School programs, contact Donna Bagley at 466-4196.