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Liberty JS2S ‘adopts’ Fort Hood kindergartners, soldier

Lacy Smith and Jackson Hellums in the Junior Student 2 Student (JS2S) group at Liberty Middle School read a Dr. Seuss book to kindergartners at Meadows Elementary School in Fort Hood, Texas. CONTRIBUTED
Lacy Smith and Jackson Hellums in the Junior Student 2 Student (JS2S) group at Liberty Middle School read a Dr. Seuss book to kindergartners at Meadows Elementary School in Fort Hood, Texas. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – The Junior Student to Student group (JS2S) at Liberty Middle School is mentoring kindergarten students and encouraging a solider at Fort Hood, Texas.

The L.A.M.P.S. (Liberty And Meadows Partnership for Students) project originated in July 2015 when Liberty JS2S sponsor and school nurse Benita Tunstill attended a roundtable session at the Military Child Education Coalition conference.

Tunstill met Stephanie Young from Meadows Elementary School in Fort Hood, Texas and discussed a joint project. Back at Liberty, Tunstill contacted Young and L.A.M.P.S. was born.

“Meadows doesn’t have a Student 2 Student program,” Tunstill said. After many brainstorming sessions, their consensus was for Liberty JS2S to mentor a Meadows kindergarten class and help sponsor a company unit soldier at Fort Hood.

JS2S for grades 7-8 responds to needs of transitioning students, especially in military families, as they enter their new school or prepare to transfer.

“Liberty calls the kindergarten students ‘Kinderoos’ because their teacher’s name is Mrs. Moreau,” Tunstill said. “The Liberty students read to the Kinderoos once a week via the Zoom web-conferencing website.”

In addition, they send written correspondence to Meadows students that helps improves the Liberty seventh- and eighth-graders’ letter-writing skills and encourages kindergartners’ reading skills. “Another cooperative activity in L.A.M.P.S. is providing the adopted solider, Dante Griffin, with much needed care packages,” Tunstill said.

Liberty S2S students also ship cards, goodies and art-and-craft supplies to their ‘kinderoos.’ L.A.M.P.S. uses ZOOM, email, texting and phone calls to communicate.

JS2S student Chris Baker believes “it’s important to connect with younger military kids so they have a positive role model while their parent is protecting our country. As a military child myself, I wish there had been a Student 2 Student group when I was a younger.”

“I love that the Kinderoos smile and laugh when we get to see them. I feel we’re making a difference in their day,” Liberty student Rebecca Brooks said.

Tunstill said the Liberty JS2S group “truly enjoys reading and sending care packages to their ‘Roos,’ because they know the students at Meadows elementary are serving our country, just as their parents.”

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