TEMPLE, Texas - Throughout the school year, Soldiers from the 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade, have interacted with students from Edwards Academy through the Adopt-A-School program. Students and Soldiers came together again to close out the school year with a capstone cookout May 19.

The social event at the high school gave students and teachers and opportunity to honor the Soldiers who volunteered their time to the Academy. It also allowed Soldiers and teachers a chance to recognize the students for their academic achievements.

According to 1st Lt. Jennifer Moore, the rear detachment commander for 61st MMB, her Soldiers worked with the students in several different ways over the school year.

"We tried to deliver the message that you can succeed no matter what your background is," said Moore. "We did this through math tutoring, mentorship presentations, and field trips."

Edwards Academy is an academic program for students who don't fit well in a traditional school setting for a variety of reasons. The school is open 12 hours a day and allows students the opportunity to earn credits toward graduation at an accelerated pace.

"Watching my students interact with the Soldiers has been an eye-opening experience for me," said Sharon Holleman, the school administrator. "Each Soldier has a story to tell, and they really have inspired my students by sharing their stories of overcoming challenges."

Those familiar relationships were evident as students and Soldiers sat at lunch tables together in the cafeteria to enjoy some of their last moments together before the end of the school year.

"We saw students bonding with Soldiers," Moore said. "If they bonded during math tutoring, we would see that student gravitate to the same Soldier during another meeting."

More than 75 Soldiers from the 1st Medical Brigade volunteered to help their adopted schools this school year.

"This is the most phenomenal relationship that I've been involved in, in all my years working with students all over the country," said Holleman.

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