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Thursday , August 16 2018
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Home | Tag Archives: Bliss Elementary

Tag Archives: Bliss Elementary

Fearless Falcons Program helps Bliss Elementary Students Cope, Lead

A Bliss Elementary School program designed to help the children of deployed troops cope with military life has transformed into a leadership-training curriculum that is helping students soar.

The Fearless Falcon Support Group is helping dozens of students learn important life skills, but now – with the help of important partners in education – students are also developing into ambassadors and leaders in their campus.

Nermin Overby, Bliss Elementary Focus on Families Intervention Specialist, said the program’s evolution has helped families deal with the hardships of having a parent deployed oversees. But most importantly, the connections and training they receive have helped them thrive as students and as military children.

Students work side-by-side with 3-6 CAV soldiers once a week, focusing on topics such as self-esteem, communication, problem-solving and team-building skills.

“The soldiers come and volunteer their time to serve as mentors,” Overby said. “They serve as role models and the students really like working with them.”

Army Pfc. Simone Victor enjoys coming to the school and talking to the students because the students remind her of her 9-year-old brother back at home in New York state.

“All the kids are funny and super smart. I think it’s great there’s programs like this to help students and guide them to know what to do in tough situations,” Victor said. “I hope they can learn the basic values, such as sharing and caring.”

The last two weeks, students have been learning how to deal with bullying.

Fourth-grader Taylor Whiteaker, a graduate of the Fearless Falcons program who is now a peer leader, shared how he felt when he was bullied.

“It made me upset, and didn’t know what to do,” Taylor said. “We have been learning that bullying is bad and how to take care of someone who is being bullied. This program has helped me make more friends, and I’m helping people learn what to do and what not to do.”

Like Taylor, Bliss fifth-grader Ja’lyn Lesar has flourished in the Fearless Falcons program.

“I like it here because it teaches you important lessons, and you get to do fun stuff,” Ja’lyn said. “I would tell other students to try it out and this place is super cool, and I like it very, very much.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy

Flags for Kids: Vets Teach Students Importance of Old Glory

A line of first graders marched out of the Bliss Elementary cafeteria on Wednesday each proudly carrying their own personal American flag mounted on a red, white or blue pedestal.

The students received the flags after a flag etiquette and history presentation by The Forty and Eight, an organization of veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“I’m proud because my mom and stepdad are in the military,” said Nathan Gonzalez, the first student to receive his flag. He’s planning to keep it in his room.

Gabrielle Jackson also already knew where to put her new flag.

“It’s awesome because I’m learning more about the flag and the United States,” Gabrielle, whose parents are both in the military. “I’m going to put it in the window sill.”

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Photo courtesy EPISD

Veteran Renny Keagle, who fought both in Vietnam and Desert Storm, said their organization reaches out to campuses with a high concentration of military family members for their presentations.

The group presented flags to students at Nixon and is planning a trip to Milam Elementary later in the spring.

“We want to teach elementary schools students about flag etiquette, what the flag means, what it represents, how to take care of it and we want to give them their first very own American flag,” he said.

 “We want them to know where it comes from and that it’s not just cloth that’s red, white and blue. We feel like if they know the history and why they are doing the Pledge of Allegiance, it will have more mean to them,” Keagle added.

The students learned the proper flag fold, the symbolism of each of the 12 folds and why it’s folded into a tri-cornered hat.

They learned to never hold a flag upside down, drop it on the ground or throw it away and that it must be properly retired when it becomes tattered.

 “When you have school on military campus, you want to your students to be well versed in what the flag stands for,” said Sheila Joplin, Bliss’ military family liaison. “Ninety percent of our students here have parents who are active duty. We want them to be able to say ‘I know the history of my flag. I know why my mom or dad do what they do.’”

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