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Laurel Bay schools welcome back staff

By Lance Cpl. Jonah Lovy | Marine Aircraft Group 31 | August 12, 2015

    Schools aboard Laurel Bay family housing held an opening ceremony for the new school year at Middleton S. Elliott Elementary School, Aug. 10.
    The ceremony was held to welcome staff and faculty back from summer vacation while looking forward to the new school year. Teachers from Charles F. Bolden Elementary/Middle School, Robert E. Galer Elementary School, and Middleton S. Elliott Elementary School were all present at the event.
    “I could not be more proud and excited to start this new school year with this amazing group of teachers,” said Dr. Samantha Ingram, the superintendent of schools on Laurel Bay.  
    The ceremony began with a demonstration from the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Color Guard. The national anthem was then played by George Ulmer, a music teacher at Elliot Elementary, followed by the invocation from Cmdr. William J. Holiman, the chaplain with MCAS Beaufort.
    The commanding officer and executive officer of MCAS Beaufort, Colonel Peter D. Buck and Lt. Col. Sean D. Henrickson, attended the opening ceremony to show the Laurel Bay schools support from the air station. 
    “Our schools are a crucial part of the community here in Beaufort,” said Buck
    A short video was played of service members surprising their children at school by reuniting with them upon their return from a deployment. The video served to remind the staff of how important their work is to the military community.  
    Every year, the faculty of the three schools has a common theme that they base their curriculum on. This year, the common educational theme is question, understand, educate and strive for excellence together, or QUEST. 
    “QUEST requires our students to problem solve, show creativity, and think critically,” said Ingram. In the upcoming year, teachers will incorporate QUEST into their lessons and continue to give students a unique perspective on the world. 
    Last year’s theme was Navigating Success in the 21st Century and beyond, said Buck. Teachers designed their classes around emerging technology and empowering students to use it to their advantage.
    One program taught students from Galer Elementary how to use modern communication technology to collaborate with students from another state, said Ingram. Students used internet based software to establish relationships and complete projects with students in Quantico, Va.
    Another program to align with last year’s theme is a curriculum that combines science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM. Students in STEM learn how to apply these subjects in everyday life.
    “It definitely promotes problem solving,” said Javier Graham, STEM coordinator at Bolden Elementary. “We want these students to figure out solutions on their own.”
     Last school year, students in the STEM program were introduced to the fundamentals of engineering by working together to build and program basic robotic structures, using them to move and knock down small objects. 
    They also used math and science to create working models of “moon buggies” out of common office supplies such as pencils, construction paper, masking tape and bottle caps.  “I’m proud to say that our schools have delivered on the theme,” said Buck. “Thank you so much for your hard work this past year.”
    Ingram also thanked the teachers for their efforts and accomplishments in keeping with the vision of the educational goals of military children here.  She emphasized the importance of the preparation of the students in this day and age. 
    “You stepped up to the challenge. You are preparing these children for the opportunities of today’s world,” said Ingram. 
    Laurel Bay houses more than 6,000 military personnel, dependents and retirees. All three schools are located on Laurel Bay and serve to educate military children and support their families.