By Sgt. Michael SmithMarch 9, 2018
Solders assigned to the 96th Transportation Company (96TC), 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (553rd CSSB), 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade (1CDSB), spent the day educating students at Western Hills Elementary in Temple, Texas, March 9.
The soldiers had the opportunity to take part in the school's career day to teach the students about life in the Army, and of course, to take the opportunity to lead the children in some physical training.
The soldiers told the children about the diversity of occupations in the Army, informed them about the heavy equipment transporter systems that Heavy Truck is famous for, organized a pushup competition and relay race and even distributed candy to the children for a job well done.
"The military is an area of interest for a lot of these kids," said Kristy Hall, Western Hills second-grade teacher. "Many of them have family members who served or are currently serving, and a lot of them, although they are obviously still very young, want to pursue a career in the military as well."
Staff Sgt. Cherelle Hatcher, heavy equipment operator, 96TC, 553rd CSSB, 1CDSB, one of the soldiers who helped organize the presentation, was most impressed with the enthusiasm of the students.
"These kids have so much energy, so many questions, and you can just tell that they are genuinely excited about the Army," said Hatcher.
Soldiers who participated and school employees both voiced their opinions of how valuable an opportunity this was to showcase, what soldiers do on a day to day basis.
"The children love to see our soldiers, and they have a lot of respect for what they do," said Deborah Donofrio, Western Hills school librarian. "A lot of them have the plan to be soldiers one day, and they get excited about seeing what they do."
Hall said the most important part of career day is how it broadens the students' horizons and shows them opportunities they may not know existed.
"It's good for them to see someone in uniform and someone they can look up to," said Hall. "A lot of them don't get out of Temple very often and get that opportunity to see another part of the world. We are grateful to the Army for bringing that world to them."
Western Hills is one of five elementary schools sponsored by the brigade as part of the Adopt-a-School program.
Hatcher was surprised, judging by some of the questions she was asked during the question and answer portion of the presentation, at the misconceptions a lot of the children had about the Army.
"This is an opportunity for them to actually get to know what we do, as opposed to what they see in movies," said Hatcher. "They get to see it's much more than just guns and violence."