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Marines go all out in support of local elementary school

By Cpl Isaac Pacheco | | February 12, 2004

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Two of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany's top enlisted Marines recently stepped out into the community and helped change the lives of some local elementary school students.

First Sgt. Anthony Wade, first sergeant, Headquarters Battalion, and Master Sgt. Donnie Baggs, chief base inspector, MCLB Albany, turned Albany's Mock Road Elementary School auditorium into a motivation-filled learning center when they gave thought provoking presentations to the students and faculty there Jan. 30th.

The school invited Baggs, a chairperson in the Parent Teacher Organization and mentor program president, to give a motivational speech affirming the new Bringing Up Grades program.

The B.U.G.S. program reinforces the positive aspects of improving poor grades and rewards students who maintain good ones.

"The B.U.G.S. program uses incentives to help us motivate the students to do better in school," said Susan Hart, Mock Road Elementary School B.U.G.S. chairperson.  "To qualify (the students) have to bring up at least one grade and none of their grades can drop from their previous semester."

Baggs accepted the invitation and also extended one to Wade, to show the Marine spirit and communicate the importance of education to the students in a humorous way.

"I came here to motivate these kids to bring up their grades," Wade explained.  "Kids need to have positive role models.  They need more than the actors and entertainers on television.  They need to have role models in the community."

Decked out in dress blues, the two Marines strode into the school's auditorium like superheroes and delivered words of encouragement and congratulations to the students who had taken up the B.U.G.S. challenge.

Baggs explained to the students how Marines yell, "Ooh rah" when they're motivated and, much to the chagrin of the teachers, he encouraged the kids to do the same.

In between these shouts of motivation, Wade offered blurbs of wisdom about the importance of loving one another, and humorous anecdotes about Marine Corps life.

"I've been in the Marine Corps a long time and seen a lot of motivating things," Wade said, "but nothing motivates me more than coming out here and seeing these kids studying hard and being successful."

Student, teachers, and many Marines seem to agree that mentorship programs such as this one and community interaction with the students will have a direct effect on the students' learning potential.

"Anything the Marines on base can do with the kids really helps," said Hart.  "We can always use more (Marines) to join in our mentorship program."

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