Marine introduces students to 'Fine' art
By Sgt. Danielle M. Bacon
| | May 01, 2006
U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
A child’s laugh often brings joy into people’s hearts, but for one U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Marine, it means a lot more – it means she has made a difference.
Staff Sgt. Sara Fine volunteers teaching art to students at Webling Gus Elementary School, Honolulu, through the Adopt-A-School program.
“When I hear little kids say they want to be an artist, it gives me a high,” said Fine, who studied art at Western State College before joining the Marine Corps in 2000. “I was that kid in school.”
Fine adds that she looks forward to time with “her kids” all week.
“They are my release,” she said adding that it is fun to test what they have learned.
Fine, a signals intelligence staff noncommissioned officer, spends a few hours each week with the students. She is currently working with kindergarteners, but she has worked with first and third graders as well.
“They are like little sponges. They soak it up so quickly. They are just so willing to learn,” said Fine.
One teacher agrees.
“We enjoy her kinesthetic approach to learning and the connection she has to fine art standards,” said Sheila Kirby a first grade teacher. “The children were motivated by the many art samples and background information that Staff Sergeant Fine presented. Her caring attitude and enthusiasm were evident in her actions.”
Allaija Williams, 5, a kindergartener, agreed, “I love art and drawing. I never knew about primary and secondary colors. I like Mrs. Fine, because she is a fun teacher, and she teaches us about art.”
Currently, the elementary school doesn’t have an art program, so Fine is just trying to fill the gap.
“Because of the No Child Left Behind Program, a lot of extracurricular programs were cut, such as art, music and (physical education),” said Fine. “So, I am just trying to help with what I can.”
Fine added, “It is not about whether or not we think that their art is good. I just want them to be confident in what they draw.”
Going above and beyond is nothing new to Fine, who admits that she has always had to work hard to get noticed.
“I was the middle child. I never stuck out and was just there,” she said. “It made me competitive, because I wanted to set myself apart from my sisters. My grandpa told me ‘what ever you do, do your best at it.’”
It is this gung-ho attitude that has helped Fine advance through the ranks – meritoriously promoted to sergeant and then again recently to her current rank.
“I think Marines should look around at what they’ve got. This isn’t a bad gig,” said Fine. “If they don’t like their situation look around and find a way to change it.”
“She is a dedicated individual. She is focused on what is ahead,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Vincent Griffin, the MARFORPAC training chief. “I don’t know how she finds time to do it all … work, volunteering and school.”
Fine still finds time in her busy schedule for the one thing that is most important to her – school.
“As a lance corporal and corporal I was on a medical board for Fibromyalgia Syndrome. At that time I dealt with a lot of doctors who didn’t have very good bedside manner. All I could think was I could do better than that,” said Fine, a Hawaii Pacific University student. “That is why I want to go to medical school.”
Although she loves the Corps, Fine says she is thinking about joining the Navy next. She is applying for the U.S. Navy's Health Professions Scholarship Program, which pays full tuition, fees, books and equipment rentals, and a monthly stipend of more than $1,100 for students enrolled in accredited schools of medicine, osteopathy, dentistry or optometry in the United States or Puerto Rico.
“It is my way to be a doctor and still be around Marines,” said Fine.
Fine has volunteered to deploy to Iraq later this year, but her educational goals remain the same.
“I am not going to stop going to school just because I am deployed. I am going to continue online.”