Soldiers’ groove to the music with ‘Jaguars’
Sgt. 1st Class Lori A. Kuczmanski, Brigade Modernization Command Public Affairs:
Soldiers from Brigade Modernization Command partnered with Nolan Richardson Middle School for their annual Valentine’s Day dance Feb. 15, standing-in as chaperones for the event and as Partners in Education.
The goal of PIE is to provide leadership, expertise and mentorship for schools, families and communities to build partnerships aimed to enhance student success.
Fort Bliss is partnered with more than 70 units and schools in El Paso and Gadsden, N.M. Last year, more than 20,000 volunteer hours were dedicated to mentoring, tutoring and participating in special events and more. The PIE Program has been active on Fort Bliss for the past 24 years.
The Soldiers ensured a safe environment was maintained during the dance for about 275 sixth, seventh and eighth grade “Jaguar” students who attended the dance in an effort to boost esprit de corps among the students.
The students were able to wear fashionable attire, which is out of the ordinary from their standard school uniform of khaki pants and polo shirts.
Maj. Charles R. Valentine, appointed PIE liaison officer for NRMS, said Soldiers wore their formal uniform, known as the Army Service Uniform, in order to maintain a professional image.
“The event was geared to be a formal event, so we dressed up as well, “said Valentine.
Jennifer Smith, student council advisor and eighth grade reading teacher, said the dance provided an atmosphere for the students to be together after school while having a good time.
“The students love to be outside the classroom together so what better way than at a school dance with music they love,” said Smith.
In addition to the dance, students from each grade level selected their peers for the prestigious royalty award by respective grade level.
Sixth grade Duke and Duchess were awarded to Jason Murdock and Hanna Cooper. Seventh grade Prince and Princess were awarded to Autumn Enterline and Keaton Jones; and the eighth grade King and Queen were Julian Gardea and Meleah Morgan.
Julie Peterson, parent engagement leader, said the event was student oriented and focused on immense participation. The outstanding turnout of students proved to be a success.
“The children were involved—we had parent involvement as well, and with the military present, the students had a great time, and that was the point,” said Peterson.
Peterson and Smith both agreed students enjoyed seeing Soldiers in their ASUs and as mentors for the dance, as a vast majority of students come from military backgrounds and it’s not often they see their parent in a setting away from their typical duties.
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