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Students hope to learn from teddy bears' travels

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POSTED: October 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Donna Smith’s second-grade class from
Diamond Elementary School visited Maj.
Gen. Anthony Cucolo and Command Sgt.
Maj. Jesse L. Andrews Tuesday at Fort Stewart headquaters to kick off their yearlong project to send a pair of teddy bears around the United States.
The teddy bears, named Sergeant and Captain, a camera, and a scrapbook containing pages dedicated to each child, the school, Fort Stewart and Georgia, will travel around the nation for about eight months in the hands of friends and family members. The bears’ first stop was a visit with 3rd Infantry Division commander Cucolo at Fort Stewart when students posed for photos with Sergeant, Captain and Cocolo. The bears have big plans to visit places like Hawaii and Connecticut, and will stay briefly on a Southwestern Navajo reservation.
Smith said she hopes having the caregivers send photos of the bears and letters back to
the children will help her class learn about social studies, geography, reading, writing and technology, as they also will use e-mail to track the bears’ adventures. Caretakers will contribute additional mementos from their journeys with Sergeant
and Captain to fill the scrapbook.
“My original intent was to give the children a reason to read, a reason to write. Tomorrow they’ll be writing thank-you letters to Gen. Cucolo,” Smith said. “I thought that by meeting the general it would turn up the excitement level a few notches. It really excites them that heís taking an interest in what they’re doing.”
Cucolo helped launch the project by inviting the students for a tour and wishing them good luck. He said he chose to take part in the project because he thinks educating children is essential.
“That’s the future of our county right there,” said Cucolo, who spent the afternoon talking with the children, answering questions about his job and sharing his own travel stories.
Andrews, who also helped the children start their project, agreed with Cucolo that education is important in creating valuable contributors to society.
“The future of our nation lies within their hands,” Andrews said.
The Sergeant Major also said he enjoys working with the children because it shows a different side of the military and gives the children a better understanding of what their parents (who are all in the military) do and who they work for.
“It’s important because it shows our kinder, gentler side,” Andrews said. “Hopefully theyíll remember the experience for the rest of their lives.”
The bears will be returning to the students in May.
 

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