By By Trish Muntean/Fort Wainwright PAOFebruary 8, 2011
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Students from Barnette Magnet School spent some time chilling out with Soldiers Jan. 28 at the Physical Fitness Center Ice Rink here.
Dressed in snowsuits for warmth and padding, helmets to avoid head injuries, and their brightest smiles, about 40 students from Lesa D. Meath and Barb Ragan's second-grade classes were joined by nine soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division to go ice skating as part of the school partnership program.
In many cases, the support from these Soldiers has made it possible for students to do activities they otherwise would not have been able to do, said Missy Odsather, the Friday in Fairbanks coordinator at Barnette Magnet School.
"We've had some negative experiences with younger children ice skating in the past," she said. "Having these Soldiers who are willing to come in and spend this time with us makes it possible for these kids to go."
Linda Goodwin, the Fort Wainwright School Liaison Officer said she was contacted by the school which asked if the unit could come help them with this skating activity the first and second graders. She called the unit, they got together and it happened.
"The units love this, they love spending time with the kids, the kids seem to enjoy having Soldiers around, so it is really a win-win situation," Goodwin said.
"The kids really enjoy it," Meath said. "This is really nice, especially since we have had this string of cold-weather days where we have been inside a lot. It is so good for them to come out and get some good physical activity."
Sgt.1st Class Gabriel Brewer got involved when his battalion command sergeant major was looking for a noncommissioned officer to be in charge of the school partnership program.
"The last time we helped Barnette with the ice skating, the children were teaching some of our Soldiers how to ice skate," Brewer said. "The children had a great time being the teacher that day with the grown men as the students. You could see the sense of pride and enjoyment from both sides."