Sunnyside Elementary students, staff celebrate military families

Students take their seats in the Sunnyside Elementary auditorium for a Nov. 9 program honoring military personnel and their families. -
Students take their seats in the Sunnyside Elementary auditorium for a Nov. 9 program honoring military personnel and their families.
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MARYSVILLE Among city schools, Sunnyside Elementary Principal Jane Colson believes her building has the highest number of children with military parents.
A military wife herself, Colson has helped organize a Veterans Day celebration for both her young charges and their families since she arrived at the school six years ago.
For this years event, easily 100 parents and family members crammed into Sunnysides auditorium Nov. 9.
Its just a wonderful day, said Cindy Booth, a military wife and co-president of the Sunnyside PTSA that helped make that day happen.
Just back from two years in Korea, Army Staff Sgt. Sigried Rockwell said the event was very important to her third-grade daughter, Mary.
She just loves the Army, mom said, adding her daughter often sports a T-shirt proclaiming My Mom is in the Army.
Its a little raggedy, but she still wears it, Rockwell said. She wore it today.
Besides putting together the yearly Veterans Day programs, Colson also makes sure her teachers know how to deal with the children of military families. All know to watch for certain behaviors that might indicate there are problems developing while mom or dad are far from home.
They (students) dont always understand how to deal with the frustration they may be feeling, said teacher Kristine Jacoby. Jacoby certainly has first-hand experience on the subject of military families. A Navy pilot, her husband Jeff is on his fourth Middle Eastern deployment. The couple has three children, including one who attends Sunnyside. Those children are used to not having dad around, but that doesnt make it any easier.
It becomes a way of life, Kristine Jacoby said, but you know the two weeks before he leaves are going to be miserable.
In addition to the schools other efforts, this year Sunnyside is promoting United Through Reading Military program. The project allows military personnel on deployment to read to their children via computers or DVDs.
The schools overall efforts in dealing with
the children of military families arent lost on Rockwell.
Currently stationed at Fort Lewis, Rockwell said she could move closer to the base. But she figures the four-hour a day commute is worth it to keep her daughter and a younger son at Sunnyside.

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