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SJ teams up with WCPS to help military students

SJ teams up with WCPS to help military students

Story by A1C Victoria Boyton on 02/22/2019

Moving every few years is nothing new to military families. Each move brings new challenges, including setting up a home and enrolling children in a new school.

The Wayne County Public Schools and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base held the annual Military Child Education Coalition in Goldsboro, Feb. 21, 2019.

The base teamed up with Wayne County Public Schools to help find ways to ease the transition for new students and their families.

Col. Donn Yates, 4th Fighter Wing commander, spoke on behalf of the base during the meeting. He commented that when families are told they are being moved to Seymour Johnson AFB, they research the area, and more importantly, the schools. He also mentioned that what they find isn’t what families want to see.

“I want to change the dialogue that the schools are bad,” said Yates. “I want to change it because the schools are pretty awesome.”

Yates explained that the resources available to military families in the district are abundant, and the school staff is something to be proud of.

A new elementary school, which is currently under construction, is a testament to the commitment of the district to continuously improve the learning environment.

“When we first arrived to Seymour three and a half years ago, my son didn’t want to go to school at all, he didn’t feel like he would fit in,” said Tina, a military spouse. “The school reached out to us and let us know about a club for military kids. That really helped my son want to go to the school, and join the club to be with people going through the same thing.”

The annual meeting provided a forum for members of both Team Seymour and the community to express both triumphs and challenges associated with the local schools.

Master Sgt. Steve Balogh, 911th Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, commented on the lack of a good sports program in the district.

“A local middle school hasn’t had a steady athletic director for the past few years,” Balogh said. “Even though military children have a chance to join a team mid-season, not having an athletic director makes it harder for the teams to exist. This past year, for example, the school didn’t have a football team because there was no director to start and run the program.”

Balogh added that in this case, the lack of a good sports program doesn’t just affect military children, but the entire community as a whole.

Yates recognized that as good as the schools are, there are always opportunities to make things better. He added that he wanted to see a long-term strategy to build a stronger strategic partnership which benefits both military families and the community as a whole.

“There are so many great opportunities for our kids,” said Yates. “Most don’t even know all of the amazing things that are going on. It’s up to us to make everything better, and open more doors for our youth. We owe it to them.”

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