‘Wolfhounds’ partner with local elementary school

| September 27, 2013 | 0 Comments
1st Lt. Tristan Rowe, 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, helps a student at Leihoku Elementary School paint a hopscotch on the sidewalk during a beautification project, recently. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Hannah Smith, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Inf. Division)

1st Lt. Tristan Rowe, 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, helps a student at Leihoku Elementary School paint a hopscotch on the sidewalk during a beautification project, recently. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Hannah Smith, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Inf. Division)

2nd Lt. Hannah Smith
1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Inf. Division

WAIANAE — “Look, the Army is here!” squealed a student at Leihoku Elementary School, here, as four Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, “Wolfhounds,” 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, arrived to participate in an area beautification event, recently.

“The children consider you guys rock stars here,” Kris Phifer, vice principal, told 2nd Lt. She’me Hicks, the Army School Partnership officer for 1-27th Inf. Bn., over the shouts and staring eyes of the excited elementary schoolchildren.

Hicks organized last week’s project at Leihoku Elementary School, which consisted of Soldiers helping repaint worn-out ground murals that the children play on during recess and after school.

“Our battalion was assigned Leihoku Elementary School and Waianae Elementary School as part of the Army School Sponsorship Program,” said Hicks. “It’s our job to coordinate with our schools and set up events, such as area beautification, physical training or classroom time, where we talk about the Army.”

Lts. Hannah Smith (from left), She’me Hicks, Shawn McKillip and Tristan Rowe, all with 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, leave their mark at Leihoku Elementary School by painting an “Army Strong” hopscotch on the sidewalk. (Photo by Kris Phifer)

Lts. Hannah Smith (from left), She’me Hicks, Shawn McKillip and Tristan Rowe, all with 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, leave their mark at Leihoku Elementary School by painting an “Army Strong” hopscotch on the sidewalk. (Photo by Kris Phifer)

During these events, Soldiers not only get to know people in the local community, but also the children benefit by learning about the military and the importance of education.

“Several years ago, the military came out and hosted a training day with the children and let them eat MREs and work in the field with them,” Phifer said. “To this day, we have members of the faculty who talk about how great it was and how much the children loved working with the Soldiers.”

“The overall goal is to strengthen the relationship of the military and the local community by taking a vested interest in the education system,” Hicks stated.

The importance of education is significant in the Waianae community, because, according to statistics, the school is located in one of Oahu’s poorest communities.

“Eighty-five percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch, and attendance is an issue,” Phifer noted. “Students typically miss up to 15 days of school a year, which totals up to a whole year of missed school by the time they graduate.”

The Wolfhounds intend to address this issue the next time they talk with the children and visit the school, during which time they will help paint pillars that represent Leihoku’s “Pillars of Character” Education Program.

Afterward, the Soldiers will explain the meaning of each pillar — such as respect, citizenship and responsibility — which are similar to the seven Army Values.

Deployments and different training cycles have shifted the focus away from school partnerships in recent years; however, the recent reinstitution of the program among the Wolfhounds holds promise for Leihoku Elementary School, its students and the Soldiers who participate.

Several other units from Schofield Barracks have been very successful in their partnership with local schools, and the Wolfhounds intend to follow in those footsteps.

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Education

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