FORT BUCHANAN, PUERTO RICO- Students from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA), Antilles Elementary School, who participate in the Fort Buchanan Child and Youth Services (CYS) School Age Center after-school program, presented the Merry Grinchmas Celebration play at the school auditorium, Dec. 15, with the presence of parents, teachers and members of the community.
With great attention to detail and impressive costumes, the students put together the heartwarming play about the effects of the Christmas spirit and how it grows even in the coldest and smallest of hearts.
At the strategic level, the event showcased the renewed partnership between two critical Fort Buchanan organizations, the CYS and the Antilles Elementary School, which had been interrupted due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
"It has been a great experience to work with the elementary school again, showing the great things we can do if we work together to support our military families and children. This partnership is only the beginning. I see more and more activities and events taking place soon in coordination between CYS and the school," said Karina Altagracia Espada, CYS School Liaison Officer.
According to Altagracia, as part of the partnership, the school provided the facilities and the art and music teachers for stage decorations and music presentations. The School Age Center assisted students in script development, rehearsing, and assisting with costumes.
Col. Charles N. Moulton, Fort Buchanan commander, attended the event and addressed the audience.
"I am glad to witness how CYS makes a difference in the lives of our military children and families in Puerto Rico. With events like this at Fort Buchanan, it is easy to see how CYS, in coordination with DODEA, provides Soldier and Family Services and develops critical Army quality-of-life initiatives. I am glad I can be here today and witness our kids' enormous creativity and holiday spirit as we sustain and further develop a strong sense of community at Fort Buchanan," said Moulton.
Larry Daffin, the Antilles Elementary School principal, was excited to see the kids' energy and creativity.
"Since a fair percentage of our school goes to the CYS after school, we wanted to do something together with the CYS. We used this Christmas play to unite both organizations to support our children further. The environment at the CYS is a more unstructured one, which enables children to have fun as part of their development. Collaborating with the school will certainly benefit our kids. I am glad that we were able to put this event together for the kids and the families," said Daffin.
The presentation of the Merry Grinchmas play represents Fort Buchanan's Service Culture Campaign, emphasizing how the installation treats, takes care of, and interacts with those it supports. It also displays how the CYS and DODEA effectively reduce the conflict between mission readiness and parental responsibility.
Fort Buchanan is the Army's home in the Caribbean and is critical in enhancing our warfighters, their families' readiness, and quality of life. The installation serves a diverse military community of approximately 15,000 active duty, Reserve and National Guard military, Marine Corps Reserve, and Navy Operational Support Center.