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Back to School

American crew adopts village school, spends spare time to help facility make the grad

 


Sgt. 1st Class Menardo Nepomuceno and Sgt. 1st Class Kennedy Hall, clear weeds outside the school

Nine American military members assigned to KFOR HQ went back to school June 17 in Bordhosh, a village outside Pristina.

The troops cut grass, cleared weeds, picked up trash and built a new swing set as part of the Adopt-A-School program for the Andon Zako Cajupi Grade School. "I'm really proud of the job our people did fixing up the school," said Col. David Servinsky, U.S.senior national representative. "They really put their hearts into giving their time into fixing up the school for the kids - and it showed."

"There's more we'd like to do," he said. "We want to help make the school a stimulating learning environment for the students and a rewarding teaching environment for the staff."

Aided by Community Volunteer Emira Picarada, who is also the NATO gym physical therapist, Servinsky's team consisted of Army members Maj. John Duff, Maj. Shawn Jirik, 1st Sgt. Calvin Sagara, Sgt. 1st Class Menardo Nepomuceno, and Sgt. 1st Class Kennedy Hall; Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Ward; and Air Force SSgts. Joel Langton and Arlo Taylor.

News of the project spread through the village and before long, a large group of students got into the act by helping finish the projects.
Currently, twenty-two teachers are responsible for 421 students in first through eighth grades at Andon Zako Cajupi Grade School. There are so many students who want to attend school that two shifts, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12:40 to 3:30 p.m., are needed to teach the children.

After the day was finished, school principal Selim Brucaj showed his personal thanks by inviting them to his house for tea. Emira's parents, both school teachers at the Andon Zako Cajupi Grade School also expressed their appreciation of the volunteers' contributions by reciprocating with an afternoon snack of home ground coffee and freshly baked Albanian pastries."It really showed me how deep of an impression our people can make by simply giving their time," Servinsky said. "It was truly a great experience for both the troops and the kids."

"The biggest impact of the volunteer's work has been the soldiers' satisfaction in improving the physical environment of the school," Sagara added. "As soldiers when we participate in constructive projects, we leave a legacy of American good will and a gesture for future generations."