Soldiers and students mixed together for reading and a question-and-answer session just after Veterans Day at Duncan Elementary School.
Fourth-graders listened to soldiers read stories and had a chance to ask soldiers about favorite foods, duty stations and life in uniform.
Students also sketched thank-you notes to the soldiers connected with Duncan’s adopt-a-school partner, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
“This is our opportunity to come volunteer and get to know our adopted school,” said Sgt. A.J. Rubio. “They get some face to face with other soldiers and veterans.”
Rubio said all students at the Fort Hood school have military-connected family members.
“They like it. We just talk with them and let them be themselves.”
In the school library, Spc. Bradley Cranfill and Pfc. Michael Avila read stories and answered student questions.
Cranfill told students he is from nearby Waco, where he returns almost every week. He said he recently finished a duty assignment in Italy, where he enjoyed some of his favorite food.
“Today is about being with the kids and making sure they know about Veterans Day,” said Avila, who began his military service four months earlier. “I think they’re happy we’re here. They ask some funny questions and want to know about the military.”
Fourth-grade teacher Steven Darst said the adopt-a-school connection is a powerful one for students so closely tied to the military.
“They get to see their heroes in real life,” the teacher said. “They talk about a life doing something courageous and they have a goal. It’s inspirational for them.
“All these students have parents in the military. This reminds them how heroic their parents are,” Darst said. “It’s a way they can show and share their love for parents. It’s an encouragement for them.”