U.S. Marines share love of reading with Covington-Harper Elementary students
Posted on 05/08/2018
Marines Reading at CHESThe Marine Corps Embassy Security Group Headquarters Holding Platoon consists of United States Marines who have just returned from deployment at overseas embassies. They are stationed at Quantico Marine Corps Base while waiting for their next assignment. Lieutenant Katherine Kline, the command post liaison, was in search of a community outreach program for them to participate in while they waited. She had to look no further than her neighbor, Kathryn Jeffords, a fourth-grade teacher at Covington-Harper Elementary.

Together Jeffords and Lt. Kline created the ‘Oorah Reading Program.’ Twice a month several Marines visit the school to read with students. Bins containing a large collection of classic books by authors such as Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems and Patricia Pollaco are available for students to choose from. The students and their Marine friends spend about an hour together.

“Not only do the Marines read with the students, but they exemplify some of the core values found valuable in the Covington-Harper Elementary Cheetahs: honor, integrity, respect and confidence,” Assistant Principal Ivania Sieiro said. “These Marines are partnering with students to build reading confidence and exemplify positive role models in the community.”

Students from all grade levels participate in the program and look forward to visits with the Marines.

Lance Corporal Collette Pluim said of the Marines enjoy serving in a role that supports students.

“It also was essential for these Marines to have an experience where their time was not given for themselves but others,” he said.

Coordinating the partnership has given Jeffords great hands-on leadership experience. She is currently working on her master’s degree in education administration. “My brothers are both in the service and I highly value our military as strong, positive role models for children,” she stated.