BAGHDAD - Teachers, students and Soldiers from Company A, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division- Baghdad, met for the grand re-opening of Almuwifikia School in Lutifiyah, Mahmudiyah Qada March 3.

The jubilant school children greeted the Soldiers when they arrived, waving flags and holding flowers. The Soldiers handed out back packs to the students, filled with school supplies and teaching aids for school's teachers.

The event highlighted the $127,000 refurbishment project funded through the Commander's Emergency Response Program. The repairs to the school included new glass in the windows, electrical work and repairs, fresh paint, plumbing for the restroom, new roofs and various other needs around the school. Sheik Mohey Sadoon Muhammed, the principal of Almuwifikia School said the two-month venture signals a new beginning for the citizens.

"This was a big step in rebuilding our community. I am very thankful to have Coalition forces working together with us against the enemy," said Muhammed.

The local leaders have created a Sons of Iraq checkpoint in the neighborhood near the school providing additional security for the students. The SoI has played a significant role in improving and maintaining security in the area with attacks and violence at their lowest levels in years.

"The grand re-opening of a school gives the students hope for a better future. The headmaster is trying to show the students that Coalition forces are here to help and the children's future will be better," said Portage, Ind. native Spc. Keisha Barajas, Civil Affairs Team 31, 1-63 CAB.

"The headmaster stated that in the past the students turned to Al-Qaida for help and false hope for a better living and future. The headmaster is teaching the students right from wrong and showing them how to take care of what they have and to appreciate it because sooner or later it may be gone," she said.

The school decided to hold the grand reopening event to celebrate the major renovations that have been completed to give the students of Almuwifikia School a more conducive learning environment.

Philadelphia native, 1st Lt. Chris Fluellen, 3rd platoon leader, Company A, said he was glad to see the school do a complete 180 degree turnaround, adding that it's good to see the children in an atmosphere where they can learn about culture and the world.

"I'm happy my platoon had a small part in this and I will definitely take the memories with me," said Fluellen.

The Soldiers of 1-63 CAB are currently working on another school renovation in the Lutifiyah area.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16