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NEWS | March 6, 2024

Service members from America’s depot participate in Read Across America Day

By Kathleen Pettaway-Clarke

It's never too early to plant seeds for future talent in keeping with the Army's objective of building a diverse and cohesive workforce, which is why service members from Corpus Christi Army Depot participated in Read Across America Day.

Sgt. 1st Class Courtney Kayser and Spc. Edbert Alvarado-Franceschi, both with CCAD security forces, as well as Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Rodriguez, the fleet liaison for the U. S. Marine Corps light attack helicopter program, visited John F. Kennedy Elementary Library located in Corpus Christi, Texas, to read to students and celebrate Dr. Seuss week.

Former school principal Margaret Evans, who also volunteered, said, "It is very important [to have military representation] because the students need to know that's a career option."

In addition to celebrating Dr. Seuss, the elementary school celebrated the grand opening of its renovated library.

School librarian Dr. Malia Perez said, "When I worked with the designers to get this library going for the kids, I wanted to make sure that the kids understood the importance of their community, not only what the community offers them, but the importance that kids play in the community." She continued, "CCAD is important for the community; the kids need to see you as part of their community."

Serving in the U. S. Army or Marine Corps and properly donning the uniform is a sense of responsibility and pride. Upon entering their assigned classroom, the service members were met with smiling faces and several "oohs' and "ahs" from 17 second graders who marveled at the uniform of each individual.

"It is a pleasure for me and a big responsibility — being a role model for the students," said Alvarado-Franceschi. "I am still a junior Soldier, but I can still bring to the table good life knowledge."

The service members requested permission from the students to read a Dr. Seuss book as part of the commemoration of Dr. Seuss's birthday, and second graders responded with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic "Yes."

When asked about his participation, Kayser responded, "It's the best time to make an impression on a young mind to develop a love for reading. Young kids have so much energy and interest in the world.”

Rodriguez added, "I remember what it's like to be that age and having visitors share their experiences that helped shape who I am." He continued, "Knowing that I have an opportunity to do the same is what makes it special for me."

The depot is constantly looking to find the next generation of leaders. Community outreach with various independent school districts provides opportunities to share Army possibilities as a career choice. As the service members left the classroom, a student shouted, "I'll see you in the Army!"