Smoothing a rough road for military children

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Panama City Beach -- Eighth grader Ocean Reckell has been to 7 different schools. Her father is currently on his 3rd overseas deployment. It's been a rough year, but a caring teacher has made it a little bit easier.

"She knew my dad was deployed and every now and then she'd keep tabs on how he was, how we were doing at home, if she could help in any way," said Reckell.

Monday, teachers like Starr Callaway were recognized for going above and beyond their normal classroom duties to help military students.

"Obviously, the military children deal with a lot of things that regular children don't deal with. So it's neat when you hear the examples and specifics about what some our educators do to help children and families," said Superintendent of Bay District Schools, Bill Husfelt.

"We've had some families that have had a lot of transition going from multiple schools. For our children, that can be very rough as they adjust to being the new kid constantly. It's a lot of stress on a child," said Commander of Naval Support Activity Panama City, Jessica Pfefferkorn.

Base officials honored Mosely High School 10th grade English teacher, Laurel Beach, for trying to make the transition process less stressful. Beach implemented a program called "Student to Student."

"I pair them with other students who kind of help them find their way," said Beach.

The relationship is two-fold. Superintendent Husfelt and Commander Pfefferkorn also recognized a group of sailors who volunteer as mentors in Bay County classrooms.

"It's our way of giving back, but also our way of making a difference," said Commander Pfefferkorn.

The sailors recognized Monday volunteered a total of 302 hours in Bay District Schools this year.

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