Valerie Roshong, a teacher with Lester Middle School, speaks to students about school rules, Aug. 27, 2019 on Camp Lester, Okinawa, Japan. Marines from across Okinawa visited LMS to interact with students, and help facilitate a variety of fun team building activities to introduce the new school year. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Karis Mattingly)
Valerie Roshong, a teacher with Lester Middle School, speaks to students about school rules, Aug. 27, 2019 on Camp Lester, Okinawa, Japan. Marines from across Okinawa visited LMS to interact with students, and help facilitate a variety of fun team building activities to introduce the new school year. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Karis Mattingly)

U.S. Marines volunteer at Lester Middle School

by Lance Cpl. Karis Mattingly
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

U.S. Marines from across Okinawa visited Lester Middle School to interacted with students facilitating a variety of fun, team-building activities, Aug. 27.

This was the first time LMS introduced a new system of school rules, safety procedures, teamwork exercises, and the school’s values. The day of fun-filled games and lessons was made possible by the faculty, teachers, and the Marines who came to volunteer.

“We strive to have a brother, sister relationship with Lester Middle School,” said Col. Vincent J. Ciuccoli, the commanding officer of Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler. "We tell Marines to operate, learn, and lead as the next rank. Marines can learn a lot from the examples that these children set by working with each other between grade levels.”

The students participated in multiple rotations of activities to strengthen cohesion within the different grades. There was a variety of team-building activities for the students including a tower building contest, a puzzle challenge and a digital citizenship lesson.

“The team-building activities are a lot of fun, but the kids are still learning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and art,” said Nedra Jones, the principal of Lester Middle School. “They are establishing friendships today. The older students are able to mentor and support younger students, so there is a partnership among the grades. We are creating a family.”

The Marine Corps is deeply committed to the community and strives to help out in any way possible.

“We could not have done this today without the support of the Marines,” said Jones. “This is the beginning of our partnership with the Marine Corps, and we really appreciate them.”

Lester Middle School is part of the Department of Defense dependent schools, DoDDS, which are the overseas schools on military bases world-wide. LMS’s mission is to educate, engage and empower each student to succeed in a dynamic world.

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