Cadet News

Bellaire High School JROTC Service Learning Project – "Happy Bookers Happy Readers"

C/2LT Lelean Jahlul reads a children story to Ed White Elementary School 1st graders

C/2LT Lelean Jahlul reads a children story to Ed White Elementary School 1st graders
Photo Credit: C/2LT Viviana De LA Torre (PAO)

  • Posted on March 16th, 2021
  • Story by: 1SG (R) John Sanford, AI
  • 5th Brigade
    Service Learning

HOUSTON, TX -- Move over pandemic, "you can’t stop the lean and mean – you can’t stop the fighting machine!" The Bellaire HS JROTC Staff has a Service Learning Project (SLP) to do! The Battalion Commander, C/LTC Jake Ridenbaugh influences his Staff to think "outside the box." Then the grand idea is placed in front of everyone – reading books virtually to elementary school kids. "Happy Bookers Happy Readers" is born.

The Staff worked industriously to build a relationship with teachers and faculty at Ed White Elementary School. Children books were donated in mass which the children were able to keep. After many weeks of coordination and planning, it was time to read to the kids via laptop. Over a period of one week, 22 Cadets read children stories (in English & Spanish) to over 300 kids in Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade (4 classrooms in each grade level) – a herculean effort! In some cases, Cadets read twice to classes. The SLP, “Happy Bookers Happy Readers” brought huge smiles to kids and Cadets.

A message from C/2LT Christian Olguin / BN S1:

"Through participating in the Service Learning Project, the Cadets had an opportunity to learn how to talk with groups that, in most cases, they would have very few opportunities to interact with, leading to them learning more about their community as a whole and being able to work in overcoming any fears of public speaking that they may have had. Personally, I was able to learn how to help lead and organize projects. After completing the SLP, I’m positive many other Cadets were feeling merry as we had a chance to help better the Holiday Season of the young children by giving them a chance to interact with others after having been alone for the past 9 months."