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January 10, 2014

School move fosters a sense of community

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Major Thomas Laybourn
USAG, Fort Irwin

Volunteers gather for a photo after moving classroom materials into Lewis Elementary School here, Jan. 2.

On the second of day of 2014, Soldiers, family members and faculty from Lewis Elementary School and the Silver Valley Unified School District moved classroom materials from their temporary facilities back to a renovated Lewis.

After a devastating flood, which damaged much of Fort Irwin and a great deal of Lewis, the school had to be closed while renovations were applied to fix flood damage. The temporary classrooms at Tiefort View Intermediate School and Fort Irwin Middle School were an adequate solution in the interim, but teachers and students alike have been very excited about returning to their original campus.

Fifty-eight volunteers from every unit on post and several spouses participated in loading classroom material onto trucks brought in by the school district and then unloading the same material at corresponding classrooms at Lewis. Morale was very high throughout the day as volunteers witnessed their hard work making the community better.

“This is like a one way trip to heaven for doing a good deed,” said Sgt. Hami Yazdanpanah, with 51st Translator Interpreter Company. His sentiments seemed to reflect most of the volunteers’ attitudes as the participants were able to complete the move in one day instead of two, which had been the original plan.

“This is great,” said Toni Chastain, a teacher at Lewis, who along with many other teachers took the opportunity to continue organizing their classrooms as volunteers delivered their materials.

Ultimately, the transition of materials will allow students and teachers to begin afresh at Lewis with its first day on Jan. 13. The cooperation shown by the volunteers and the school district reinforces the commitment towards children’s education. Katie Hylton, director of operations at SVUSD, summed it up best when she said the dedication of military families “continues to show a strong positive bond between this community and our school.”




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