For the third year in a row, Fort Jackson schools have earned the National Education Association's Read Across America grant.

The NEA awarded Pierce Terrace Elementary School and C.C. Pinckney Elementary School a combined $2,500 for Dr. Seuss-themed events.

That money will be "geared 100 percent toward students and military families" -- not a cent will be used for the benefit of teachers or for the purchase of classroom supplies, said Kerrie Ammons, C.C. Pinckney speech pathologist.

"We're very proud of that" added Jenna Vaughn, a first grade teacher at Pierce Terrace.

Fort Jackson was one of just six Department of Defense Education Activity installations out of dozens selected, said Fort Jackson music teacher Alan Danahy, president of the Fort Jackson Association of Educators.

"That's really quite an honor," Danahy added.

"I think we're establishing kind of a legacy of excellence," Ammons said. The installation is hosting bigger, better and more meaningful events for its students every year, she added, because "military students deserve the best."

Volunteers are helping make it all happen.

"Wacky Wednesday Hump Day 5k," a fun run set for Feb. 27, is one upcoming grant-funded initiative.

Participants will receive copies of Dr. Seuss's Wacky Wednesday book, and winners will earn medals.
The community will be encouraged to make Dr. Seuss quote-filled posters and cheer on runners from the side of road so competitors can "see those words of encouragement" as they pass by, Ammons said.

There will be a "movie in the park" March 1 in the space behind the leasing office.

Parents will be invited to the schools for an "author's tea." Students will read pieces they have written for an adoring audience.

The grant will allow "Good Night School" to continue this year. Fort Jackson teachers and some members of Army leadership will go live on Facebook at night to read books to the community to sign off for the evening.

Brig. Gen. Milford H. "Beags" Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson commander, and Col. Stephen Elder, Fort Jackson garrison commander, are two volunteers who have already signed up, Ammons said.

Ammons and Vaughn joined forces to write the grant proposal after the Fort Jackson Association of Educators put the installation up for the prize.

"They had equal intentions for Pierce Terrace and C.C. Pinckney," Danahy said, commenting that both schools will benefit from the planned ideas.

This is another way DoDEA schools have set themselves apart from schools outside of the gate, Ammons said, adding that Fort Jackson schools are "offering a different experience."

Danahy called the opportunities at on-post schools "tailor-made for military kids."