Squadrons 'adopt' Gurganus Elementary, Tucker Creek Middle

Marines from Cherry Point showed their willingness to support the community through two Adopt-a-School celebrations in Havelock.

Marine Air Control Squadron 2 adopted W.J. Gurganus Elementary School, while Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 28 adopted Tucker Creek Middle School.

The adopt-a-school programs allow the interaction between service members and students, with Marines providing tutoring help and other volunteer hours to support to each school.

“Marines come over maybe twice a month and come work with our students tutoring, doing recess with them — just being a big buddy and a great role model,” said Debra Hurst, principal at Gurganus Elementary School.

The school hosted a formal signing period in which Hurst and Lt. Col. John B. Naylor, commanding officer of MACS-2, signed an agreement in the school’s media center. Various school officials and Marines attended the ceremony, with the school’s fifth-graders acting as the official witnesses.

“We do this every year to ensure that connection is maintained through the population of military students and the Cherry Point base,” Hurst said, explaining the turnover rate with students whose parents are in the military.

At Tucker Creek, the school’s chorus provided music at its formal signing.

Lt. Col. John Krysa, commanding officer at MTACS-28, signed the official “adoption” papers, along with Tucker Creek Principal Claudia Casey.

“In the future, we’ll bring Marines to the school to participate in activities,” Krysa said. “They’ll do some mentoring and some tutoring.”

Casey said the partnership displays the strong values of the community.

“Our teachers are very excited and our students are thrilled as well,” Casey said. “We look forward to the strong partnership over the course of the year. That partnership is really important to create a common understanding of the values that are important to our community and building up that community surrounding the Cherry Point area.”

During the ceremony, Casey quoted an African proverb to explain what the relationship between the school and the squadron means.

“If you want to go fast, go alone,” she told the gathering. “If you want to go far, go together.”