MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Marines are known for their tenacity, determination, dedication and their faithfulness to duty. Sometimes they are called ‘Leathernecks’ and German soldiers referred to them as ‘Teufelhundens’ or ‘Devil Dogs’ because of their fierceness in battle.
But, they do have a softer side, which earned them new names by the students and principals like role models, heroes, leaders, motivators, student-friendly and outstanding neighbors.
On March 2, Marines volunteered and visited several local elementary schools, most of which were located near Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, to read to students as part of Read Across America Day.
Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, said, “I had a great time reading to the kids. This was a great way to encourage our children to read, to demonstrate its importance, and to show how fun reading can be.”
According to the Web site, http://www.nea.org, National Education Association’s Read Across America is an annual reading, motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The purpose of RAA is to motivate children to read because it is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.
Rashay Traeye, media specialist, Morningside Elementary School in Albany, Ga., said, “NEA wants to build a nation of readers and we are doing that here. We always welcome volunteer readers to our school because when kids see adults read, they want to model what we are doing. Having the Marines at our school allowed our students to also ask questions about the current war, because so many of the students see them on television and think they only fight wars. We believe that after seeing the Marines reading at our school, the students also had a chance to see them fight for literacy in our country.”
Dr. Gail Solomon, principal, Turner Elementary School, said that having the Marines participate at her school was very inspirational and motivating.
“A lot of the students in our community live in single parent homes, with their mother as the sole provider, they are not familiar with positive male role models. By having the Marines come out to read, students can see other male role models that are successful; hopefully it will inspire them to develop bigger dreams of becoming leaders of tomorrow.”
For Lance Cpl. Sarai Perez, personnel clerk, Military Personnel Office, Manpower Division, MCLB Albany, this was her first time participating in the event.
“I loved the Read Across America event and it was a lot of fun,” she said. “I will definitely do it again.”
Deborah Jones, principal, Sylvester Road Elementary School, Albany, Ga., said having the Marines at her school was a wonderful gesture that gave the students an opportunity to put faces with uniforms. Her students have sent cards and other goodies to military personnel who are deployed.
“The students were excited to see the Marines in uniform and listen to them read and share their personal stories. They were fantastic, student-friendly and motivational. We welcome them back any time, not just for a special occasion like this,” she said. “The experience made a great impression upon our students.
The goal of RAA was for local students in Albany to see the importance of reading and that people from all walks of life are doing it.
Dr. Zeda George, principal, International Studies Elementary Charter School in Albany, Ga., said her students were given an opportunity to interface with people who have a passion for reading and value the benefits of it.
“We were delighted that the men and women who serve and protect us daily took time out of their busy schedules to spend time with our boys and girls. We value and appreciate the Marines for being a viable part of our community and are fortunate to have such outstanding neighbors,” she said.