Volunteer Marines meet, mentor, motivate local students
By Pfc. Ethan Hoaldridge
| | May 14, 2007
Pearl City, Hawaii --
There were two thousand bright yellow, blue, purple and white t-shirts funneling into a high school track field creating a collage of children, but ironically it was the olive-drab t-shirts warn by U.S. Marines that stuck out the most.
Marine volunteers from Camp H.M. Smith helped run the Annual Pearl City Complex Track Meet for eight different local elementary schools at Pearl City High School, May 14.
Once the Marines stretched and warmed up the students, the children went on to their respective events.
The students participated in the long toss and long jump, but the main events took place on the track.
Hundreds of students, teachers and family were in the stands sending waves of roaring cheers for each race; the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 400 and 800-meter relays.
Each event was coordinated by Marines, teaching staff and PCHS students to ensure safety of the students, escort the children to each event and to enforce the rules and regulations for the track meet.
“The Marines are a blessing to the students and the teaching staff as well,” said Dr. Susan Hirokane, Pearl City Elementary School Principal. “We really appreciate the sacrifice they make to come out and mentor the children in so many different ways.”
The Marines also come and read to the children and conduct physical education as part of the Adopt-a-School Program.
“Their service is an excellent example of the great partnership the Marines share with our community,” said Hirokane.
The experience from volunteering is also beneficial to the Marines.
“It’s a phenomenal experience for the Marines to teach and mentor kids who might be two grade-levels behind in reading,” said Staff Sgt. Obi Rogers, the Camp H.M. Smith Adopt-a-School Program coordinator. “When the children progress it shows that our influence is making a lasting positive impact on the community.”
The children made their gratitude evident with every high-five, hug and smile exchanged with the Marines during the track meet.
“This is my first time volunteering with the Adopt-a-School Program,” said Cpl. Nevoy A. Dyson, G-3 administration noncommissioned officer. “Its gratifying to see the kids having this much fun.”
Service members or civilians aboard Camp H.M. Smith who are interested in volunteering can contact Staff Sgt. Obi Rogers by calling 477-8955.