By Kellie AbernethyApril 27, 2016
FORT BENNING, Ga., (April 27, 2016) -- Every week, Soldiers from 30th Adjutant General battalion take a break from their daily duties and switch gears to the classroom, focusing on tutoring, mentoring and supporting students at Eddy Middle School.
As a part of Partners in Education, 30th AG adopted Eddy Middle School in 2015 to assist with increasing levels of achievement, self-esteem, and understanding of the expectations of world work, according to the Columbus Chamber of Commerce PIE website.
The results of the partnership have been tremendous, said Dr. Michelle Crooks, intervention specialist at Eddy Middle School.
"They have really been phenomenal," said Crooks. "The students have been staying out of trouble because they want them (the Soldiers) to be proud," said Crooks.
The Soldiers selected a group of boys to mentor, teaching them about Army values, what life will be like outside of school, and what life would be like if they did not finish their education.
"This program kept me out of trouble this year," admitted Christopher Wheeler, an 8th grader in the program.
Crooks said that she has seen a difference in Wheeler as well.
"He looks up to them like a big brother and does what it takes to make them proud," said Crooks.
Amiri Sonie, a fellow 8th grader, said that seeing them each week encouraged her.
"They encouraged us and they checked in with us to see how we were doing. They really do care for us as if we were their own," said Sonie. "They have helped us understand what a leader is and how being a leader will get you to where you want to be in life."
Capt. Cameron Webb, commander of HHC, said that he has seen a difference in the students just since he began volunteering at the beginning of the year.
"Seeing these children grow up over a year, it's really touching to know that just coming to their school and saying hi to them and asking them how they're doing, has a big impact on them," said Webb.
To celebrate the completion of testing, Crooks arranged a special event for the students: a basketball game of Soldiers and faculty versus students. The result was a gym packed to the brim with students cheering on their favorite Soldier, teacher or friend. The excitement in the gym was intense, as students sat on the edge of their seats watching their mentors compete.
"If they see bad things every day or every other day and they don't see the good side of life, then I believe they are more inclined to go down the wrong path and end up on the streets working minimum wage jobs or crime, going to alternative schools, not realizing and maximizing their full potential," said Webb.