Commanding attention




 <p>from upper left: <p>? Grant Meier has the chin strap of his borrowed helmet tightened by one of the visiting experts as he prepares to experience the weight of typical soldier gear.<p>? Bryan Barrell (blue shirt) checks with a serviceman to make sure he?s wearing his knee guard correctly. <p>? Kaity Bina prepares to descend from the lofty driver?s seat of an Army troop carrier while classmate Daniel Moenning anticipates his turn behind the wheel.<p>? Students Lander Smith, Emma Carson, Dwayne Moenning and Kaity Bina (from left) learn from an expert about the monster-sized military vehicle.<p><p>Free Press photos by Don Ratzlaff<p>

Bravo Company out of Fort Riley in Junction City invaded the Centre schools campus Thursday?but this invasion was greeted with open arms.

For the past four years or so, Centre has participated in Bravo Company?s ?Adopt-A-School Army Partner?ship.?

In the past, students have traveled to the Army base as part of the partnership arrangement, but this time nine soldiers dressed in camo uniforms arrived at the school in a convoy of five different military vehicles.

?The purpose of the Adopt-A-School Army Part?nership is for the Army to provide support and partnership in order to nurture the growth of children,? said Jill Day, a school counselor who has helped coordinate the program during her three years on staff.

?The purpose of the Adopt-A-School Army Partnership is for the Army to provide support and partnership in order to nurture the growth of children,? she said.

During the morning, the soldiers interacted with students in the classroom. In the afternoon, students left the building to learn more about the military vehicles in the parking lot and interact with the soldiers.

Students had the opportunity to try on some of the personal gear soldiers wear in the field, including supply vests and helmets.

Day said since she?s been involved in the partnership program, many different things have happened between Centre and Bravo Company.

The list includes:

? reading books to elementary students;

? joining in current events class, welding class, Algebra class, Computer Apps class and other classes;

? eating lunch with the students;

? playing educational games with students;

? cleaning up around the outside of the school;

? providing help for track meets, cross-country meets, field day

? helping with moving heavy items to get the school ready for students

? setting up a career day at Fort Riley for high school students;

? attending open house and getting to know families;

? marching in local parades for Labor Day or Octoberfest celebrations.

?The response from the students and the staff has always been very encouraging,? Day said.

?K-12 teachers are always willing to have soldiers come into their classrooms to interact with the students.

?The students eyes light up with the mention of the soldiers coming to our school,? she added. ?It really is a positive experience for all.

?I am very grateful that we, here at Centre Schools, are able to have this partnership with the kind, supportive and courageous soldiers of Bravo Company 299th BSB.?

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