Savannah Schools receive $1.2 million grant
Soldiers from the 1/3rd AVN, 3rd CAB, present the colors during a student-led Pledge of Allegiance at the Southwest Elementary School Department of Defense Reading Grant Celebration Jan. 20 in the school cafeteria. The grant gives $1.2 million in aid to four Savannah schools including Southwest Elementary, which was sponsored by the 3rd CAB.

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - Students, educators and community leaders gathered at Southwest Elementary School cafeteria, sponsored by the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, to celebrate a Department of Defense Reading Grant during a press conference, Jan. 20.

The grant will give $1.2 million to Southwest Elementary School, which is sponsored by the 3rd CAB's 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, and three other Savannah schools for their high concentration of military students.

The press conference began with a color guard detachment from the 1/3 AVN presenting the American flag while two students led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Principal Kim Hancock then spoke, joining the school mascot Al the Gator, for a story to which many of the military children in the audience could relate: the tale of Al's relocation to a new school.

The conference closed with a reading of the poem "Military Child," during which all the military children in the audience stood to be recognized.

Afterwards, two of the school's reading groups demonstrated the new reading programs made possible by the grant.

Autry McGary, Hunter Army Airfield School Liaison officer, said the grant was designed with mobile military students in mind.

"This reading grant helps military students make a more seamless transition," said McGary. "They're able to get more academically stable and sound due to increased reading levels…as they move on to their new schools."

Specifically, McGary said, the grant allows four new teachers to begin at the four schools: Pulaski, Godley Station, Georgetown, and Southwest. It also provides supplemental reading programs, textbooks and money for curriculum development.

The 1/3 AVN Battalion Command Sgt. Major Terry L. Sparks, who was in attendance, said that being a part of the school community was one of his battalion's top priorities.

"We don't do enough," said Command Sgt. Major Sparks, as he helped orchestrate the color guard detachment.

It was that spirit of partnership and dedication that was on display during the ceremony, McGary said.

"This is one of numerous partnerships we've started with the local school district, and it just goes to that working together really helps build a better learning environment for our students -- especially our military students," said McGary.

Page last updated Thu January 26th, 2012 at 11:10