Local

July 25, 2014

Back to school at Fort Huachuca

Carissa Incorvaia receives information from Dennis Houston about Club Beyond, a youth ministry geared towards military teens. Club Beyond, which is located at the Main Chapel on Fort Huachuca, was one of the organizations present during the Back to School Fair July 17.

 
Kicking off the upcoming school year, Fort Huachuca and local area schools and organizations presented the 2014 Back to School Fair at General Myer Elementary School July 17. The event was open to those who live on and off post.

More than 30 organizations participated with booths, displays and presentations to educate parents and children about school registration, extracurricular activities, sports, special needs services, tutoring, and more. According to Erin Schnitger, School Liaison Officer, Fort Huachuca, more than 700 people attended the event.

Schnitger explained that the overall purpose of the event was to provide education about all the great advantages that the community has and getting Families more involved in their children’s education.

“We wanted to bring those who live both outside and inside the gate together, under one roof, and say ‘We have resources for your Family everywhere.’ It’s really important for people to know that,” Schnitger said. “It breaks down the fact that we are all one community and we are all servicing the same people. Everybody deserves those same resources.”

Each organization present was required to accommodate one of the following categories: Education; Enrichment, Extracurricular and Clubs; Health; Sports and Fitness; or Special Needs.

Angela Ellis, a volunteer with the Mall of Sierra Vista, gives a backpack to Matthew Staggs, 5, during the Back to School Fair at General Myer Elementary School July 17. At the Mall of Sierra Vista table, children received a back-to-school prize after spinning the wheel.

“The fair was meant to be a community collaboration of the entities that support youth, schools, education, and wellness,” Schnitger said. “We’re trying to really shift everything back to supporting the ‘whole’ child, as opposed to separating school life, Family life and community.”

Fort Huachuca Accommodation School principals were present at the fair, providing information about the schools and answering questions about the upcoming school year. It was an ideal opportunity for Families to meet the two new principles that join the education team this year – Mark McIlrath, Colonel Johnston Elementary, and Valerie Quarto, General Myer Elementary.

Many health and wellness organizations provided demonstrations such as how lungs work within the body, how to properly brush your teeth, optometry exams and nutritional information.

Rosa Peralta, the Army Substance Abuse Program representative, said, “It was a great opportunity for ASAP to reach out to so many parents, raise awareness about alcohol and drug abuse, and offer them support and information to keep their kids healthy.”

As one of the many organizations present at the Back to School Fair July 17 at General Myer Elementary, the Fort Huachuca Dental Clinic provides demonstrations on how to correctly use a toothbrush. Those that visited the table also received bags that included a new toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.

Outside the gym, attendees visited with agencies and organizations which provided a variety of safety information. Fort Huachuca Fire Department had the safety smoke house on site to teach children what to do in the case of a fire and military police checked vehicles for correct installation of car seats.

In addition to learning about the various organizations, attendees also had the opportunity to receive their required immunizations and make appointments for the upcoming school year. A free gently-used clothing store was also available.

Attendees had the chance to enter a drawing to win a backpack filled with grade-specific school supplies such as crayons, markers, folders, paper, calculators, water bottles and lunch boxes. The winners were: Abby Morley, 6, for the elementary backpack; Lia Nelson, 12, for the middle school backpack; and Jacob Staggs, 14, for the high school backpack.

With such a great turnout, Schnitger said she hopes to repeat the event next year. “I want to build upon this event each year that I am lucky enough to hold my position as the Fort Huachuca School Liaison Officer,” she said. “It means the world to me to have such an excellent community support system for our Families.”
 

A car seat is correctly installed by Charles Stemler, Fort Huachuca firefighter, outside of General Myer Elementary School on July 17, during the Back to School Fair.

 

Inside the safety smokehouse, Jason Bryan, a Fort Huachuca firefighter, talks to children about fire-safety techniques, how to prevent them, and what to do in the case of a fire. The fire department provided other safety information during the Back to School Fair July 17, such as proper car seat installation and issuing child identification cards and fingerprinting.

 

Susan Fawcett, a riding instructor with Cochise Area Network of Therapeutic Equestrian Resources, or CANTER, uses a sign to attract children to her table during the Back to School Fair in the General Myer Elementary School gymnasium July 17. CANTER offers therapeutic equine activities for those with disabilities or special needs.




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