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April 24, 2014
Rachel Ponder, APG News

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - More than 30 Soldiers and DoD civilians from the APG community read to students for Roye-Williams Elementary School's Read Across America celebration April 16.

The National Education Association's Read Across America event celebrates the birth of children's author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The event is usually celebrated on or near March 2, but the school had to postpone the event in March due to inclement weather. Since 1997, schools, libraries, community centers, bookstores and more have participated in this annual event. RWES Literacy Coach Heather Morris explained that the goal is to get more students excited about reading.

"The boys and girls already look up to the Soldiers and civilians who are serving our country," Morris said. "Seeing them reading will inspire the children to pick up more books."

This is the second year in a row that APG community members participated in Read Across America for RWES. Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison APG has a longstanding partnership with the school. Soldiers and civilians volunteer throughout the year at annual events like STEM Night, Field Day and provide mentoring and tutoring to students. The school has a high number of military children, as elementary school students who live on APG North (Aberdeen) attend RWES.

Sgt. Natasha Sims, from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, who read Dr. Seuss's "Cat in the Hat" and "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut," said she jumped at the chance to read to the students.

"I think I was more excited than the children; it made my day," Sims said. "I will be back to volunteer for any event."

Staff Sgt. Christopher Sitter, from the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Center, said he volunteers in the community whenever he has the opportunity. Sitter read Dr. Suess's "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day," and talked to the children about how he copes with frequent moves.

"This is a treat for me," Sitter said. "I was an Eagle Scout (the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts of America) so I am used to doing this type of thing."

RWES Parent Teacher Association President Sarah Watt thanked the volunteers for their continued support.

"The response was overwhelming," she said. "The children and the volunteers had a good time."

APG School Liaison Stacie Umbarger said the next big event for RWES is Field Day on May 15. For more information about volunteering at local schools contact Umbarger at 410-278-2857 or e-mail