Kindergarten class honored as US Marine Corps unit

Kindergarten class honored as US Marine Corps unit

Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 11:42 am
By: By KATIE KEATHLEY

The Messenger 07.21.10
By KATIE KEATHLEY
Special to The Messenger
This past spring, Janet Keathley’s kindergarten class at Lake Road Elementary School was honored by being named a unit in the Marine Corps.
Their own kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Janet, was given the responsibility of fulfulling the position as their platoon leader. How does a class full of 5-year-olds gain such recognition and responsibility?
Sgt. Jimmy Young is a troop for the Marines in the 2nd Marine Headquarters Group. While he was serving our country in Iraq, his son, Hunter, entered kindergarten at Lake Road Elementary with Mrs. Keathley as his teacher.
As is a tradition every year, Mrs. Keathley takes one of the most famous children’s books around, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and instructs her students to create their own rendition of the story.
This past year, however, the class decided to create a special version of the story as a group and send it to Hunter’s father and his unit over in Iraq. They constructed a book that consisted of each student in the class, but instead of using animals as the characters, the students were named.
“As a class, we felt like doing this allowed Hunter’s father to feel as though he was included in his son’s kindergarten experience while serving in Iraq,” Mrs. Keathley said.
Expecting nothing in return, the class was taken by total surprise when they received a personal letter, as well as a flag, as their honorary guidon.
The following letter explains the flag and its significance:
Dear Class,
Thank you for the support you are giving to myself and my fellow Marines here in Iraq. We all sat down and went through the book that you sent to us. Everyone loved it and we all immediately decided we would get together and send you something as a token of our appreciation and to thank you for your support. It is children like yourself that keeps us going over here and we are forever grateful for your interest in how we are doing over here.
The flag presented to you is your honorary guidon. In the Marine Corps, each unit has a specific flag (guidon) that represents their unit. This one was made specifically for you. It has the name of each child (troop) and the teacher’s name (platoon leader). This alone makes it unique to your class. We had your names placed in formation order, which is one of the traditions of the Marine Corps. The background of the flag is Iraq’s national flag. The big symbol in the middle is the Marine Corps emblem (the Eagle, Globe and Anchor).
We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed your gift to us.  We all want to thank you for your support.
The Marines
of 2nd Marine
Headquarters Group
Sgt. Young’s tour of duty began April 19, 2009, and he returned April 15. The flag is now framed and hangs in the entrance way of Lake Road Elementary, where Mrs. Keathley’s kindergarten class of 2009-10 will always be remembered as their own unit in the Marine Corps.
Editor’s note: Miss Keathley, the daughter of Barry and Janet Keathley of Union City, is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where she is majoring in public relations with a minor in marketing. She plans to graduate in December and pursue a master of business administration degree. She is doing a summer internship at the Obion County Chamber of Commerce.

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