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Fort Hunter Liggett soldiers visit Almond Acres Charter Academy 

Almond Acres Charter Academy Soldiers

SFC Alexander Rodriquez, Cpt. Rosa Gutierrez, and 1st Lt. Lennaro Bonner shake hands with students who were being honored
for their citizenship at Almond Acres Charter Academy on Jan. 8. Photo by Michael Guterl

Students learn about citizenship

Twenty-four Almond Acres Charter Academy students in San Miguel got the opportunity to have lunch and talk to five Fort Hunter Liggett soldiers and two civilian employees on Jan. 8. The students, two from each class, were selected by their teachers based on which ones the teacher felt best embodied the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. The Citizen Luncheons are held the first Thursday of each month as the school calendar allows. Each luncheon is sponsored by a community group or business. The sponsor, Almond Acres Charter Academy receptionist Erin Colegrove said, sends guests and pays for the food.


Almond Acres Charter Academy students discuss values, citizenship and daily routines with Fort Hunter Liggett soldiers. Photo by Michael Guterl

“It was very interactive,” Colegrove said of the luncheon with the soldiers. “I think [the students] got a lot out of it.”

SFC Alexander Rodriguez of the 102nd Total Army School System said he volunteered to attend the luncheon because he loves to volunteer, but also enjoys interacting with students. Rodriguez said the luncheon was fun and he asked questions that he would ask his own children, 5 and 8 years of age.

“It was actually a pretty fun experience being able to talk to the different aged students,” Rodriguez said. “For me, it was fun. I enjoy youth, it makes me feel young.”

Each week, Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Officer Amy Phillips said, teachers meet with students to discuss two values that they will focus on in class.”Every day, the teachers will reinforce those values through discussions, online tutorials and videos,” she said. “For instance, patience and persistence are two values focused on this week at the academy.”

Captain Rosa Gutierrez of the 91st Training Division said it was a very positive event.

“I think it was very beneficial to the community and the Army,” Gutierrez said, adding that she was the lone female of the group, as well as an immigrant. “As an immigrant, being able to service in the United States Army is a proud accomplishment and being a woman [in the armed forced] is an accomplishment. Being able to represent women and immigrants to the children is positive.”

All of the personnel from Fort Hunger Liggett shook the hand of each student and asked them questions about what they like to do in their free time, as well as their favorite subjects and what they did over Christmas break as they enjoyed lunch together.

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