APG, local leaders welcome students back to school

Roye-Williams Elementary School hosts bus ride along

APG Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia Jr. looks on as Garrison Commander Col. Robert Phillips III high fives Lily Young, 5, as she and her twin sister, Olivia , and their parents Ashley and Brian Young arrive for the first day of school at Roye-Williams Elementary School, Sept. 5, 2017.|U.S. Army photo by Rachel Ponder, APG News

Roye-Williams Elementary School students received a hearty welcome back from teachers, staff and local leaders as they returned from summer vacation on the first day of school, Sept. 5., 2017.

APG Garrison Commander Col. Robert Phillips III and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia Jr. joined Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Canavan and other local leaders on a bus ride-along that was topped off by music, balloons, high-fives and well wishes from greeters when the more than 500 students reached the school.

Participants included Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, State Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti and Harford County Council Member Mike Perrone Jr.

Garrison Commander Col. Robert L. Phillips III and Garrison Command Sgt., Maj. Toese Tia Jr. board a school bus at Roye-Williams Elementary School to welcome back students who live on post for their first day of school, Sept. 5, 2017.|U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News

Phillips said the students were eager to share their summer experiences and show off their new school supplies.

“We had fun talking to the kids, they weren’t bashful at all,” Phillips said. “I think they were ready to start school.”

Military connection

Principal Rose Martino said the ride-along with Canavan and local leaders is a Harford County Public Schools tradition and that more than 55 percent of the school’s students are the children of parents connected to the military.

“We proud of our military connection,” she said. “We love our connection with Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Department of Defense.”

Martino added that every morning teachers and staff members meet the children with a celebratory greeting as they enter the school.

“The children are here for such a long period of time, this is their home away from home,” she said. “While we are together, we are all a team and a family. It doesn’t matter if you are in pre-k through fifth grade we are all work together and we all help each other out.”

Garrison Commander Col. Robert L. Phillips III holds up a high five for Roye-Williams Elementary School student on the first day of school, Sept. 5, 2017. |U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News

After Martino greeted the students and family members, she thanked Phillips and Tia for their continued support. Phillips said APG has a great partnership with Harford County Public Schools.

“I am so impressed with Roye-Williams Elementary, this has got to be a fun school to walk into every day,” Phillips said. “I am really glad the kids at APG have the opportunity to come here and the other Harford County Public Schools, this is a great community.”

Military child Tyler Hancock, 7, said he was excited to start a new school. He recently moved with his family from Texas.

“I want to see my new class,” he said.

Garrison Commander Col. Robert L. Phillips III and Garrison Command Sgt., Maj. Toese Tia Jr. exit a school bus at Roye-Williams Elementary School that picked up students who live on the base for their first day of school, Sept. 5, 2017.| U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News

1st Lt. Adlin Belen, with the U.S. Army Public Health Center, was one of the first parents to arrive at school with her daughter Mia Sophia Santiago, 7.

“The teachers are good,” she said. “I know because she comes home every day happy.”

DoDEA funding

According to Mary Beth Stapleton, HCPS coordinator of grants, business and community partnerships, since 2010, RWES has received more than $700,000 in federal grant funding from the Department of Defense Education Activity, or DoDEA. DoDEA funding leverages partnerships with school districts to support research-based strategies that enhance student achievement.

DODEA grants have funded before and after school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM programs and access to technology in the classroom. Other schools that have benefited from DoDEA funding are: Aberdeen High; Aberdeen Middle; Havre de Grace High; Havre de Grace Middle; Churchville Elementary; Church Creek Elementary; and Meadowvale Elementary schools.

By Rachel Ponder, APG News