Pearl City Elementary School faculty hosted a breakfast to honor four U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Marines and 23 other civilian volunteers May 27.
Tammy Calebro, school counselor and parent facilitator, organized the event at the school to thank parents and service members who dedicate their time to supporting the school or through the Adopt-a-School Program.
The program is a Department of Defense and Department of Education partnership designed to improve schools through fundraisers and the assistance of military volunteers.
Pearl City Elementary is one of four schools on Oahu MARFORPAC has adopted, which includes Palisades Elementary, Aiea Intermediate School and Aiea High School.
Within the last three-and-a-half years, MARFORPAC personnel have tutored students, which improved the students’ reading skills, according to Calebro. They also conduct physical education classes and provide funding to renovate Pearl City Elementary School’s library and to enhance the school’s robotics program.
“People always say when you hear Marines, you think war fighter,” said Staff Sgt. Obi Rogers, a volunteer and intelligence analyst with MARFORPAC. “But we do a lot more. We become engaged in the community and that’s what we are doing here. We are investing in our future.”
During the event, the school’s junior police officers demonstrated their award-winning drill routine and the school’s chorus and other students sang and danced to show their appreciation for the volunteers.
The event ended with an awards ceremony, during which the students presented all the volunteers with gifts and Certificates of Appreciation to the Marines.
“It felt good to help these kids,” said Sgt. Wendell G. Smith II, the motor transportation maintenance chief for MARFORPAC. “Getting to help the school like that is a great feeling and I think every Marine should do it at least once in their career. It’s good for morale and helps the community.”
With the school year ending and after witnessing the positive impact Marines had on the school, its faculty looks forward to more Marine volunteers in the future.
“It’s a known fact that when parents and the community become involved in the schools, the children are more successful,” Calebro said. “I want to let the Marines know that their presence is welcome and wanted. Keep coming. Keep helping. You are vital to our schools.”